Before the travel slowdown, many travelers at busy airports swore by the CLEAR checkpoints. Being able to skip the long lines for security and even TSA Precheck would save precious time if you’re close to making a flight or give you extra time to relax in a lounge.
Now that the checkpoints are clearing a fraction of the number of travelers from before the pandemic, CLEAR isn’t as important as it was before. Sure it’s nice to be able to have a contactless way through the TSA security checkpoint (if the retinal scanners are working,) but is that worth $100+ a year for the service?
While many of us are familiar with CLEAR, an article this week gave an insight into how getting people through airport security quicker was just the first step on their plan to become the company that stores your biometric data and allows you to use it everywhere.
The article is a great read and a look into the possible future that CLEAR wants to be a major player in. However, another interesting bit of information came when they explained how airports profit from CLEAR checkpoints.
Clear offers airports a cut of the revenue earned when a traveler signs up for a subscription. These deals typically range from 10% to 12% of Clear’s revenue at the airport, and include Clear sign-ups outside of the airport’s doors within a specific geographic zone, according to revenue sharing agreements between Clear and five major airports obtained by OneZero. And it’s not just a one-time cut: As long as the customers maintain their Clear subscription and fly from their home airport, the airport gets a piece of the fee every year.
For example, I signed up for CLEAR at home. Since I live in the vicinity of Orlando Airport and use the CLEAR checkpoint there, MCO gets a cut of the fee every time I renew my membership.
CLEAR also knows that the members who use the service more are more likely to renew their memberships. People who only use it once are only likely to stay on for 3 years, but those who use CLEAR 10x or more a year are renewing for at least 6 years or more.
So if you’re renewing your CLEAR membership this year, know that a part of the money is going to your local airport.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary