4

Clear CEO Touts Those Members-Only Scanners at DFW, Which Open Today

^
Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

When it was announced last week that CLEAR, "the nation's pre-eminent biometric secure ID program," was setting up shop at DFW Airport's Terminal E, it struck me as odd. Seemed that TSA was abdicating some of its responsibility to a private company, which of course it was, but I had to track down the details from a March New York Times story.

Clear CEO Caryn Seidman Becker prefers to frame things a bit differently. She called me this morning from DFW, where she was helping launch the program. It's not an abdication, she said, but a public-private partnership that is both more convenient for customers and enhances airport security.

Here's how it works: Members register for $179 per year and go in person to have their identity registered and verified. They are given an encoded card which they can use, along with an iris or fingerprint scan, to verify their identity at the airport. Clear customers still have to pass through a TSA security checkpoint, but the members-only clear lane allows them to skip to the front of the line.

She likens Clear to an ATM, the advent of which allowed people to withdraw cash quickly and conveniently, without having to wait for a teller. It takes Clear members five minutes or less to get through security; the goal, Seidman Becker said, is to become "the Starbucks of airport security."

This is actually the company's second iteration. The first go-round, it went bankrupt.

"Members loved it and it should have been successful, but it had bloated cost structure mismanagement and a lot of debt," said Seidman Becker, who was among the investors who purchased it out of bankruptcy.

Things are going better the second time around. DFW marks the company's fourth airport, but its first that wasn't covered by the original Clear. Eventually, the company plans to be in the country's 20 or 21 largest airports. And the company would eventually like automated, biometric screening to play a greater role in airport security. Negotiations to that effect are underway with TSA, and she said they have been productive.

As for the question of what's in it for DFW, she couldn't remember the exact terms of the contract but thinks the airport's cut of Clear's revenue is about 10 percent. I've emailed DFW spokesman David Magana for an exact figure.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.