In an age where we can fit almost the entirety of human knowledge on a device that fits in a pocket, and parse that knowledge by talking to an artificial intelligence, it should not be as difficult as it is to prove I am who I say I am. And though we’re living in the future, I still gotta reach into my pocket, pull out my wallet, pull out my ID card, hand it to another person, and wait for them to realize the person in the picture and the person standing in front of them are indeed the same person. And so does everyone else in line in front and behind me.
At least, that was the process before I started using CLEAR. Available in over 40 airports and stadiums nationwide, CLEAR turns all of the ID card rigmarole into a simple tap of the finger. If you’ve ever seen Back to the Future 2, where Marty McFly has a scanner instead of a doorknob on his front door, then you already know how CLEAR works, and it really is as simple as the movies make it seem.
I enrolled in CLEAR in preparation for flying from NYC to visit some family in Seattle, taking advantage of their risk-free 2-month trial. Signing up online was easy, and I could complete the in-person enrollment part at JFK on the day of my flight.
The faster and easier CLEAR process began as soon as I stepped into the terminal. I walked up to the CLEAR enrollment area and an agent helped me complete the process by adding my irises and fingerprints, and then I was escorted right up to the X-ray and body screening lines. The entire process took only a couple of minutes, probably even less time than it would take me to find the end of the normal security line! And getting my ID checked just by looking into a machine had the same rush of “I’m living in the future” as the first time I asked Siri a question. And because CLEAR is in SEA airport as well as JFK, coming home was just as easy.
The time and stress saved makes CLEAR very worth it for every frequent flyer, or it’s perfect if you love going to concerts, or have season tickets to the Yankees (they also operate out of places like CenturyLink Field and Yankee Stadium). And besides the speed and ease-of-use, the rush of getting through that first security check in seconds makes you feel like you’re living in the future.