Since getting my Clear registered traveler card I have been itching to try it. As it happens I was flying out of SFO last thursday, the first day that the Clear lanes were open in SFO… in fact, considering I had an early morning flight it may well be I was one of first people to use the lane.
I’m happy to report that the experience was thoroughly positive. I walked up to the Clear lane and handed my card to the guy working it, along with my boarding pass. He verified my travel documents and directed me to the machine where I inserted the biometric card and put my thumb on the glass for a fingerprint check (the iris scanning is a secondary method in the event your fingerprints don’t register).
I don’t know how other airports work but at SFO the lanes don’t have their own metal detectors and x-ray equipment so the Clear part of the deal is just verifying who you are. In reality the only benefit is that you get to jump to the front of the line, much to the disapproval I am sure of the 100+ waiting in line on Thursday.
In summary, for my $99 a year I was benefited from 1) dealing with some very pleasant Clear employees instead of the usual grind, 2) jumping to the front of the line, and 3) having my security process cut down from 15 minutes to about 5 minutes beginning to end.