Two major airport security checkpoint expediting services have announced expansion plans in the past 10 days—meaning there soon will be more options for travelers to breeze through airport security.
USA Today reports that the Transportation Security Administration’s PreCheck program will grow to include 11 new airlines in the coming weeks, while CLEAR, a private trusted-traveler program, recently added New York’s LaGuardia International Airport and will add three other airports by April 15.
The moves will bring the total number of airlines participating in PreCheck to 30 and the total number of airports that offer CLEAR to 22.
These two programs are different and distinct.
PreCheck, which costs $85 for a five-year membership, eliminates the need for members to remove shoes and take laptops or travel-sized liquids out of bags when they pass through security checkpoints at participating airports.
CLEAR, which costs $179 annually and keeps track of members via biometrics such as fingerprints and the unique patterns on the iris, enables members to skip ID check lines and go straight to physical screening. The USA Today story adds that because Delta Airlines owns a 5 percent stake in CLEAR, there are ways for frequent Delta fliers to get free or discounted memberships.
It’s worth noting that nothing prohibits travelers from belonging to both programs; in many cases, simultaneous memberships in PreCheck and CLEAR expedite the security screening process even more.
New airlines in the PreCheck program are Emirates, Avianca, Sunwing Airlines, Aruba Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Spirit Airlines, Boutique Air, Southern Airways Express, Key Lime Air, Miami Air International, and Xtra Airways. Other airlines already in the PreCheck program include Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Lufthansa, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, and Virgin America, to name a few.
CLEAR, on the other hand, will open at Hartfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, and Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport by spring. The program currently is available at airports in Austin, Baltimore, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston (both IAH and HOU), Las Vegas, Miami, New York City (both JFK and LGA), White Plains, Orlando, San Antonio, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. (both IAD and DCA).
Matt Villano is a freelance writer and editor based in Healdsburg, California. In nearly 20 years as a full-time freelancer, he has covered travel for publications including TIME, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Sunset, Backpacker, Entrepreneur, and more. He contributes to the Expedia Viewfinder blog and writes a monthly food column for Islands magazine. Villano also serves on the board of the Family Travel Association and blogs about family travel at Wandering Pod. Learn more about him at Whalehead.com.