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Is California Set to Ban Clear?

by Aoife O’Riordan

Apr 24, 2024

© Maria Feklistova | Dreamstime.com

eFlyer Lead

A new California bill recently proposed banning security screening company Clear from operating at California airports. The bill targets companies like Clear that let passengers pay to pass through security ahead of other passengers.

Bill SB-1372 criticizes Clear for allowing wealthier passengers to skip lines at TSA screening lanes and seeks to ban Clear entirely from Californian airports.

Senator Josh Newman, a sponsor of the bill, said, “The least you can expect when you have to go through the security line at the airport is that you don’t suffer the indignity of somebody pushing you out of the way to let the rich person pass you.”

Clear currently operates in nine airports in California. Other supporters of the bill include Senator Janet Nguyen and the union representing Transportation Security Offices in Sacramento, San Jose and Oakland. A TSA workers union in California also backs the bill.

While Clear has yet to give a statement on the proposed bill, several major U.S. airlines oppose it. Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, JetBlue, Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines and Southwest Airlines recently signed a letter opposing the bill. These airlines argue the bill, if passed, will increase security checkpoint wait times and eradicate millions of dollars in revenue, as well as decrease services in California while increasing airfares.

Clear is a paid service that lets travelers utilize a separate security line, often shorter than the regular TSA security line and the same length as TSA PreCheck. Clear currently operates in more than 50 airports, stadiums and other venues across the country, including Los Angeles (LAX); Dallas (DFW, DAL); Atlanta (ATL); Orlando (MCO); Miami (MIA, FLL, PBI); Chicago (ORD, MDW); New York City (JFK, LGA, EWR, HPN); Boston (BOS); and Denver (DEN). The standard price for an annual Clear membership is $189.

“It’s a basic equity issue when you see people subscribed to a concierge service being escorted in front of people who have waited a long time to get to the front of TSA line,” Newman told CBS MoneyWatch. “Everyone is beaten down by the travel experience, and if Clear escorts a customer in front of you and tells TSA, ‘Sorry, I have someone better,’ it’s really frustrating.”

To become a law, the bill must clear a committee and win approval from both chambers of the California legislature. The bill must also receive a signature from Governor Gavin Newsom.

What are your thoughts on the proposed bill? Do you have a Clear membership? Do you have TSA PreCheck? Do you find the wait times significantly reduced with a Clear membership? Tell us your thoughts. Email us at [email protected]. Please include your full name and location.

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