WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – Travelers using Westchester County Airport will soon be able to register in advance and get through security quicker with a new screening program.
New York City-based CLEAR eliminates the “huge bottleneck leading up to the first TSA agent verifying documents, which is usually the longest part of the security process,” according to a CLEAR press release.
Upon arriving at the airport, a CLEAR member will go to a separate line and insert a membership card into an ATM-like machine and verify their identity with a fingerprint scan. Hospitality attendants will then authenticate the passenger’s boarding pass before they proceed directly to a still-mandated TSA physical screening lane. The whole process takes an average of five minutes, according to CLEAR Director of Public Relations Nora O’Malley.
“It’s a lot easier,” said O’Malley. “You don’t have to worry about budgeting an extra hour for an unexpectedly long security line. You can get there 35 minutes before your flight and you’ll get through.”
O’Malley said the program allows people to spend extra time with their family at home or finishing work.
“You might show up at the airport and it’s a two-minute wait,” she said. “You might show up at the airport and it’s a 60-minute wait, but you always get there an hour and a half early, so you don’t ever have to deal with that.”
CLEAR membership costs $179 per year and is free for those under 18. A family plan allows a person’s spouse or partner to join for $50 a year. They also operate at the international airports in Orlando, Denver, San Francisco and Dallas-Fort Worth. O’Malley said the program is great for business travelers.
“We’re really excited to expand our New York footprint because we know we have a lot of members here who will appreciate it,” said O’Malley. “Westchester is home to so many big companies, so the corporate discount will be really appealing there – that’s a big, important part to the CLEAR network. Busy business travelers love CLEAR – it makes the whole thing about business travel.”
Families and college students also make up the more than 200,000 members.
The program will bring jobs to Westchester County and revenue to the airport, O’Malley said.
“It won’t be too hard for us to get up and running,” said O’Malley. “We’re eager to start before the holiday rush season.” She said the company is looking to start in mid to late November.
People who wish to join CLEAR must first complete an online application and then visit an enrollment center, either at its headquarters or Westchester County Airport when the kiosks are installed in a month. Members will then “digitally authenticate their passport and driver’s license, as well as submit their biometrics (fingerprints and iris image) and take a photo,” CLEAR said. That information is stored on a CLEAR card and then shipped to members within seven business days.