Airport Security – CLEAR

Today I flew back to LA from Denver and noticed the CLEAR program being marketed heavily in the security line with 4 or 5 kiosks, yet very little traffic going through the CLEAR line itself.  I was there at 5:30am and it looked like largely a leisure crowd going through an already steadily increasing security line.  Perhaps a bit early for the road warrior Monday morning folks.

I couldn’t help thinking that if I lived in Denver this would be the first thing I would do (after purchasing a new set of skis) – enroll in this program if the price point was reasonable, say $200-250 per year.  My experience with DIA is always greeted with long security lines because security is centralized in one location for the entire airport.

Once I actually landed in LA and dug into the research, this is actually a re-brand and launch of the failed Clear program across 18 airports that ended in class action lawsuits and bankruptcy back in 2009.  A new investment and management group has purchased those assets and is attempting to revive the program.  There are only 2 current participating airports (Denver + Orlando) but their presence at DIA security was prominent – multiple kiosks, attendants – you couldn’t miss it.

The program is $179 per year with an additional $50 family plan and this program is completely privately run, using biometric identification, same as before.  I think its a great idea provided there is a large enough ACTUAL time savings from the first class security lines to offset the cost of the program for the target consumer, which I assume is the frequent traveler – who will likely have access to first class security lines.  Perceived benefit I’m not sure gets you there, it’s gotta save time for the business traveler.

I think Denver is a great place to have this program.  Problem is, the only way I’d join the program is if my resident airport participated.  It will take a load of $179 subscriptions to pay for the operation I witnessed today, I’d like to see behind the curtain on those economics.  Particularly for airports where security is NOT centralized, like LAX and dozens of others.  The additional cost of hardware for convenient placement in a distributed airport, with more than 5 disparate security locations, has to quickly add up.  Well, I hope it works out and that LAX is next on the list!  Check ’em out at www.clearme.com

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About Rob
I'm passionate about building businesses and have been doing so for 15 years. There's a few successes over the years in online community, transforming how cars are sold and pricing innovation for retail. Currently, I'm building a business helping companies manage their shipping and supply chain. I've made plenty of mistakes along the way but hopefully have learned from most of them. I am an avid angel investor, cyclist, Ironman, husband, father of 2 and traveler living in Austin, TX. More detail about my professional experience can be found on LinkedIn. You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or pitch me for investment on AngelList.

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