Airport Check-in: Registered traveler program Clear is back
By Roger Yu, USA TODAY
Clear, a registered traveler service provider that closed last year, relaunched last week under new management.
Clear, now owned by privately held Alclear, began operating at Orlando International, charging subscribers $179 a year for front-of-the-line privileges at security checkpoints.
To join, travelers have to submit their fingerprints and iris scan, used by Clear’s machines to biometrically confirm their identity at checkpoints.
In June, Alclear announced that Denver would be the launch airport, but subsequently chose to open in Orlando first. It’ll announce the opening in Denver in “a matter of days,” says Gareth Edmondson-Jones of Clear.
Orlando was also the launch airport for the previous version of Clear in 2005, then operated by now-defunct Verified Identity Pass. Verified Identity, founded by entrepreneur Steven Brill, declared bankruptcy and closed its operations at 23 airports. It didn’t refund fees to those whose memberships were valid then.
Verified Identity’s assets were bought by a group of investors who relaunched the service under the new corporate name. Alclear says it will “honor” the remaining terms of any Clear membership. The clock on existing members’ remaining term starts ticking once Clear returns to their home airport or when they use their card at any airport that has the service, whichever comes first.
Alclear’s sole competitor for now, iQueue, runs a similar operation at Indianapolis International. The programs don’t honor each other’s memberships.
TSA bans large ink cartridges
The Transportation Security Administration has banned toner and ink cartridges over 16 ounces on all U.S.-bound passenger aircraft in both carry-on and checked bags. The move is part of new security rules TSA imposed for cargo following the recent thwarted terrorist plot to ship explosive devices on board aircraft bound for the U.S. from Yemen.
The ban will also apply to “certain inbound international air cargo shipments,” says Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.
But TSA is easing rules on some small laptops. Customers who rushed out to buy the latest model of the 11-inch MacBook Air can keep the computer in their laptop bag when passing through airport security. The 13-inch MacBook Air models must be removed for X-ray screening.
Earlier this year, TSA allowed travelers to leave electronic items smaller than the standard-size laptop — e-readers, netbooks, tablets, iPad, personal DVD players — in their bags. Despite the announcement, travelers have complained that TSA officers don’t apply the rule consistently. To remind its employees of the laptop policy, TSA shipped posters explaining the rules to 450 airports over the summer.
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