Clear doesn’t let you skip security screening at U.S. airport checkpoints, but its promise is to make the effort take less than five minutes consistently. Clearly United has heard from its most frequent customers that they value that consistency.
United Airlines and Clear said on Monday the carrier plans to bring the tech company’s biometric screening to hubs in Chicago, Houston, and Newark. United, which has made an undisclosed strategic equity investment in the New York-based startup, will offer special rates for this service to its frequent flyers.
Clear, which uses biometrics — scans of your eyes and fingerprints — to move users through airport security faster, would like to open security lanes at Chicago O’Hare in the coming months, and it is going through the approval process with the City of Chicago. It will this summer debut at Newark airport, and it will expand its presence at the Houston airport.
United starting Monday is offering members of its frequent flyer program MileagePlus discounted membership in Clear. The rate is $119 a year, a discount off regular annual Clear membership of $179. Existing Clear members can ask for the MileagePlus member pricing on their upcoming Clear renewal. Some higher-status MileagePlus members can pay less or receive the benefit for free. For example, Global Services members — that’s United’s top status level — receive it for free.
United also invested in Clear. Before this news, the startup had previously publicized raising $35 million in funding since its founding in 2010, though it has also had other undisclosed rounds.
Past investors include Delta Air Lines. Since last November, Delta has given free Clear membership to members of its Sky Club lounges. Delta installed Clear equipment at its 50 U.S. lounges. Delta’s top tier Diamond Medallion members receive Clear membership free, and the carrier offers its other tiers of status discounts.
United didn’t mention a possible future use of biometrics at its lounges.
Clear said it has 3.8 million members and that it has operations at 31 airports, plus more than 30 stadiums and other public venues. Last November Hertz said it would bring Clear’s biometrics to about 40 of U.S. rental car locations.
Caryn Seidman-Becker, CEO and chairman of Clear, said in a statement that the company was thrilled to partner with United.
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Photo Credit: United's automated screening lanes at one portion of Chicago O'Hare Airport. The airline said it would invest installing biometric screening devices from the tech company Clear. United
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