In which I try out CLEAR for free

So last Thursday I flew to San Francisco to visit my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew.

Seattle’s airport used to be incredibly efficient and did a great job of balancing the security lines; even with TSA Pre✔︎ the five security sites were being pretty well-balanced:


But somewhere along the line they decided For Some Reason to consolidate all of the general screening lines into a single one and make the other four Pre✔︎-only:


“Fortunately” they have a private Pre✔︎ partner, Clear, on-site, who can sign you up in just three minutes. They’re more expensive than Pre✔︎ (currently $179/year) but they let you jump to the front of the Pre✔︎ line, and also offer security-theater shortcuts for a lot of other venues that I never go to like sporting events and major concerts.

Anyway, they give you a 30-day free trial when you sign up and I figured I’d give it a shot because I didn’t want to be late for my flight. And I got through security in just a couple minutes. (They still did find the Leatherman Micra (affiliate link) I’d forgotten to remove from my purse, thus preventing me from hijacking a plane with a dull 2" blade. Oh well.) It was nice being able to skip all of the security faff that does absolutely nothing.

On my return flight, at SFO, it only let me elide the pre-boarding pass check, and the Pre✔︎ line was still in the regular full screening. So I still had to completely disassemble everything from my bags and take off my belt and shoes and watch and so on.

Anyway, I won’t be renewing my Clear membership (fortunately they actually let you turn off auto-renew during the trial period rather than needing to come back and cancel at a specific time) but I might sign up for Nexus, which is cheaper and includes Pre✔︎ privileges. Appointments for it are way further out unfortunately (last I heard the waiting list in Seattle is 5 months or so) but I don’t have any travel planned in the immediate future anyway.

Of course eventually everyone will have some sort of line-jumping method (except for the people who are most hard hit by the security theater practices anyway) so then the TSA will just have to come up with a double-expedited service or something. All for a thing that does worse than nothing.



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