CLEAR, the privately run expedited airport security program, can be a big time-saver at the airport. But one of the major knocks against CLEAR is that, unlike TSA PreCheck, it's not available at every major airport.
That's starting to change, thanks to partnerships with Delta and United. United recently spearheaded the introduction of CLEAR at Newark (EWR) Terminal C and an expansion at Houston-Intercontinental (IAH). And CLEAR announced today that it's up and running at Chicago-O'Hare (ORD) Terminal 1.
Terminal 1 is United's main terminal at O'Hare. It's also where flights depart on All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Lufthansa – both are close partners with United.
It marks CLEAR's 34th U.S. airport – a rapid expansion over just the last two years. Here's the full list of airports where you can find CLEAR:
|Atlanta (ATL)||North & South Domestic Terminals|
|Austin (AUS)||Checkpoints 1 & 2|
|Baltimore (BWI)||Checkpoints A,B,C, D & E|
|Birmingham (BHM)||Main Terminal|
|Boston (BOS)||Terminal A|
|Chicago-Midway (MDW)||Main Terminal|
|Chicago-O'Hare (ORD)||Terminal 1 & 2|
|Cincinnati (CVG)||Main Terminal|
|Cleveland (CLE)||Center & South Checkpoints|
|Columbus (CMH)||Main Terminal|
|Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW)||Terminal E|
|Dallas-Love Field (DAL)||Terminal 1|
|Denver (DEN)||North & South Entrances|
|Detroit (DTW)||North & McNamara Terminals|
|Fort Lauderdale (FLL)||Terminals 1 & 2|
|Houston-Intercontinental (IAH)||Terminals A, B, C and E|
|Houston-Hobby (HOU)||Main Terminal|
|Las Vegas (LAS)||Terminals 1 & 3|
|Los Angeles (LAX)||Terminals 1 - 7|
|Miami (MIA)||Checkpoints E & H|
|Minneapolis−Saint Paul (MSP)||Terminal 1|
|New Orleans (MSY)||Concourse D|
|New York City-John F. Kennedy (JFK)||Terminals 2 & 4|
|New York-LaGuardia (LGA)||Terminals C & D|
|Newark (EWR)||Terminal C|
|Westchester County (HPN)||Main Terminal|
|Oakland (OAK)||Terminal 2|
|Ontario (ONT)||Terminal 2 & 4|
|Orlando (MCO)||East & West Security|
|Palm Beach (PBI)||Terminal A/B & C|
|Palm Springs (PSP)||Main Terminal|
|Phoenix (PHX)||Terminals 2,3 & 4|
|Sacramento (SMF)||Terminal A & B|
|Salt Lake City (SLC)||Terminals 1 & 2|
|San Antonio (SAT)||Terminals A & B|
|San Diego (SAN)||Terminal 2|
|San Francisco (SFO)||Terminals 1-3, International Terminals A & G|
|San Jose (SJC)||Terminal A & B|
|Seattle-Tacoma (SEA)||Checkpoints 1-5|
|St. Louis (STL)||Terminal 2|
|Washington, D.C.-Dulles (IAD)||Main Terminal & East Security Checkpoint|
|Washington, D.C.-Reagan (DCA)||Terminals A, B & C|
What is CLEAR?
CLEAR works separately from TSA PreCheck. With PreCheck, you get a dedicated line at airport security, can keep liquids and electronics in your bags and can keep a coat, belt, and shoes on. But think of CLEAR as a license to cut in line – you get whisked to the front of either the PreCheck line or standard security lane.
It's a privately run trusted-traveler program that takes both your fingerprints and iris scans to confirm your identity before security screening. Once you’ve signed up (more on this shortly) and finalized your registration, you simply head to the CLEAR lane, confirm your identity at a kiosk, and get whisked away to the front of the TSA line by a CLEAR ambassador.
So what's stopping you? Likely the high price tag – a year's worth of CLEAR starts at $179. Compared to the $85 you pay for five years of TSA PreCheck (or $100 for Global Entry), it doesn't make sense for every traveler.
Luckily, there are ways to drop that cost considerably. For starters, all Delta SkyMiles or United MileagePlus members can enroll in CLEAR for just $119. So even if you’re not flying Delta or United, you can quickly sign up for a SkyMiles or MileagePlus account to capitalize on this lower cost.
But if you’ve got status with either airline or hold one of the co-branded credit cards, that price drops to $109. And the lowest pricing of all is reserved for top-tier status holders, who can select an annual membership as a free perk.
Finally, you can get CLEAR for as low as $9 a year by holding the American Express Green Card. Amex recently overhauled this card, adding a $100 annual credit toward CLEAR membership – the first card to offer that perk.
It's great to see CLEAR's footprint grow – especially to such an important international hub like Chicago-O'Hare (ORD). Chicago certainly won't be the last addition.
Lead photo courtesy of CLEAR