Remember the CLEAR registered traveler program? Those who shelled out $179 per year got a special bio-metric membership card, which provided access to exclusive, shorter security lines at 21 airports across the country.
While CLEAR won the hearts and wallets of its customers, it struggled with debt and demand and abruptly shut down last June.
In recent months, a new company called Alclear announced an agreement to purchase the assets of the old company (Verified Identity Pass) and crank the operation back up.
Alclear’s first move was to update the www.flyclear.com web site, which had been dormant. The revived site encourages previous, new, or just curious travelers to fill out a form and vote on which airports where they’d like to see the service.
However, it does NOT state which airports it intends to target for the re-launch. (Prior to shut down, CLEAR operated at ATL.) Don’t get your hopes up yet. The new company has to sign all new airport agreements, a process which could take quite a while. The site says, “We are in discussions with multiple airports to re-introduce CLEAR,” but does not mention any airports by name. However, Denver is rumored to be the re-launch airport sometime this fall.
The site’s FAQs also state that the new company will honor previous members’ remaining membership terms as of June 2009. (For example, those who had three months left in their term will get three months free membership.)
In what appears to a bungled first step, this week Alclear sent out a confusing and unwieldy email (two full pages, 1200 words) to former members. The gist of the tome was to ask those former members who DO NOT want back in to send the new company a letter (via snail mail) asking to “opt-out” of the new program and have their data destroyed. (Here’s the full email.)
Anyway… I was a former member of CLEAR and must admit that the service paid for itself, but not because it actually saved me all that much time. As an elite level member of several frequent flyer programs, I already had access to shorter, faster security lines.
What CLEAR did was remove the uncertainty from the airport screening process– at ATL as well as in other airports that don’t have special elite lines, or those that have unpredictable wait times. To me, as a frequent business traveler, that kind of peace of mind was worth $179.
So, frequent travelers, what do you think? Would you sign up again or for the first time?
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NHK Atlanta says
I saw the announcement weeks ago in USA Today (I think) and IMMEDIATELY signed up for updates and alerts. CLEAR was a necessity if you ever use MCO (orlando)and LAX! I even welcome the return to Atlanta for those Monday mornings when the priority lines are as long or longer than the non-elite lines.