I recently received this question from a reader: “I have a question about the Clear program. I signed up and paid for it online and now need to do the biometrics at an airport. My question is do I need to go to the airport before the day I am scheduled to fly to complete this process? Or can I wait until the day of the flight and do it at that time? If I go ahead of the flight date will they let me in without a ticket or boarding pass? Any information is appreciated.” ~ Sandy M
This is a great question and if you subscribe to my free daily travel tip newsletter, then you know I’m a huge fan of CLEAR. CLEAR is a private company that works with the U.S. government and uses biometric authentication (an iris scan or fingerprint) to verify a passenger’s identity. They’re located in over 50 U.S. airports (not all terminals for huge airports like MIA and JFK).
I emailed CLEAR executives to confirm that my answer to Sandy was correct: “You can go the day of your flight.. They used to say just allow five minutes but show up a good 30 minutes early just to make sure. They usually have two sets of kiosks. One by the ticket counter to sign people up and one by security for people to CLEAR.”
Unfortunately, I did not hear back from CLEAR reps but I went to the airport and asked one of their representatives if my advice was accurate and she said it was except that all you really need is 3-5 minutes. But I’m glad I went to the airport because the rep gave me a great tip. She said that you can sign up for CLEAR right at the airport and get a 14-day free trial and again, that takes just 3-5 minutes and you don’t need to sign up before going to the airport. This means if you’re flying just once a year on a domestic trip that’s less than 14 days, you can get CLEAR for free if you remember to cancel before their system automatically charges your credit card.
Speaking of credit cards if you have one of these you will get CLEAR for free.
RELATED: For reminder emails about things like the above, I use this free service.