Thursday, Jul. 31, 2008

The Clear Card

All the various mobile apps that track the speed of airport security lines may be useful — but they're not as useful as skipping the security line. The Clear Card ain't perfect, but at 20 airports around the United States flashing one allows you to cruise past most of the queued up suckers. Clear holders apply online, then go to an enrollment center and present two forms of government issued I.D. and submit their biometric data, which is loaded onto a card. At the airport, you walk to the Clear kiosk, input your card and, in most cases, move right through the X-ray and metal detectors. The upsides are obvious: speed, and a well vetted privacy assurance program that keeps your bio-metric information safe. The downsides are the relative paucity of airports currently equipped with Clear machines and the odd frequency with which members report that the chips on their cards get scratched up. (Replacements cost $9 a pop, but take three weeks to arrive.) Still, for frequent travelers who hate lines, it's worth every penny.

List Price: $100 a year, plus $28 TSA vetting fee

Josh Tyrangiel