clear vs precheck

Clear Vs TSA Precheck The Pros and Cons of Each

In this article, I wanted to talk a little bit about clear vs tsa precheck. I do watch the people walk through the lines all the time, and there was a little bit of an incident today where they’re changing some of the rules for Clear. So, I wanted to walk you through it.

Clear vs TSA Precheck

So, just you know, TSA PreCheck is a government program where you have to apply, you get a background check taken, and then you are qualified to actually purchase TSA PreCheck, whereas Clear is a private company, and I believe they go through and do background checks, but their approval process is pretty automatic.

Clear vs TSA Precheck

I had a hard time finding any information on if they do a background check, but I will tell you a little bit about both and kind of how you walk through and can skip the security lines at TSA at the airport.

The Benefits of TSA PreCheck

Number one, the biggest thing of course is that you could have skipped the line, but also, you don’t have to take off certain things you do with normal security. You don’t have to take your shoes off, you don’t have to take light jackets off, heavy coats, of course, you will still have to take off, and I’ve been asked to take off heavy sweaters, things like that, totally fine.

Clear vs TSA Precheck

You also don’t have to take electronics out of your bag, and you don’t have to take out your toiletries, your liquids, your makeup. You do still have to pack it in that 3-1-1 bag we talked about, and I’ll post that link above, but you do not have to take it out of your bag when you are going through security. Number two, if you’re traveling with a child 17 or younger that is your child and they have TSA PreCheck on their pass because you booked your ticket with them, then they can go through the security line with you, which is really, really nice if you’re traveling with a young child.

I actually had to go through the regular security line when I was traveling because it was a nephew, and it’s not my child, and so that is why it wasn’t he wasn’t allowed to come through TSA PreCheck with us. And then next, clear vs tsa precheck  the TSA PreCheck is actually available at more than 200 airports, and 85 airlines use it in the United States, so it is pretty much available wherever you go.

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The Benefits of Clear

The benefits of Clear are that you actually go up, and they, it’s a biometric screening, so they either take your fingerprints or your face print or both, and they know who you are and they pass that along to the TSA, and then you don’t have to go to the TSA and do your identity screening. And the one thing I will tell you is today they came out with news that there was actually a security breach through Clear about a year ago in July of 2022, and so they are upping their random screens of Clear passengers, so you may actually have to go through and talk to a TSA person and give your ID and all of that.

Clear vs TSA Precheck

Clear is available at 50 or more airports nationwide, and they do have family passes, so I’ll go into that with pricing, and also business passes, so if you have a family or a business, it may be a good option for you, especially if you’re traveling a lot with Clear. I have seen people go through the Clear line quicker than TSA PreCheck.

It really depends on the airport, but that is something to think about. They do sign up people on the spot; I’ve seen that before, so if you’re late for a plane, that’s really their sales pitch, is, ‘Hey, don’t wait in this line today, we’ll get you through all right.’

How much does TSA PreCheck cost?

Clear vs TSA Precheck

So, the cost, and I think this makes a big deal for a lot of people, is that TSA PreCheck costs $78 as of 2023 for five years, so you just pay that one-time fee, and it lasts five years. You get your background check and all that, and it’s not active until you get your background check back and it becomes active. And then it’s $70 to renew, and if you do it online, and $78 to renew if you do it in person. Clear costs $189 every single year.

How much does CLEAR cost?

So, I think that makes a big difference for people between TSA PreCheck and Clear. It’s a lot easier to sign up for Clear, but it’s actually a lot more expensive as well. For a family plan, it’s going to cost $189 a year, and then $70 per family member, so if you’re looking to sign up, there both of them have certain credit cards that will offer you free either TSA PreCheck or Clear, so just look at your credit card and see what they offer.

But if you’re looking to get it for free, there are credit card offers out there that will pay for it for you. All right, to apply for Clear or TSA PreCheck, both of them have very similar options where you can do it online or at the airport, but you will have to go in and do your interview or your biometric screening for either of them.

So sometimes it’s just easiest clear vs tsa precheck if you’re going to the airport to just try to do it then. TSA PreCheck does have appointments, but sometimes you can sneak in and get an appointment with either of them. Clear, like I said, they’re all about sales, so when you are going to your flight, say, ‘Hey, I want to sign up today,’ and they can generally sign you up if you have enough time.

But both of them try to make it a pretty easy process, so it’s not too difficult. The only thing I will say is TSA PreCheck does have that background check time. I want to say that it took me about a month to get my background check back with that, so just be aware that if you’re trying to use it in two days, TSA PreCheck may not be the way to go. TSA PreCheck and Clear are both super easy to use.

How to Use When You Travel

What you want to do is actually you’re going to get a known traveler number or a KTN. You’ll get that number, you’ll memorize it, you’ll remember it, and you will add it to every reservation you make. Sometimes, most airlines, you put it in once and it’ll remember it, so that’s really easy. And then, when you get your boarding pass, it’ll say TSA PreCheck at the top.

One time, I printed out my boarding pass and it didn’t say that, and it’s because I entered my number wrong when I booked my reservation. So just be aware of that, and I just went up to the desk and said, ‘Hey, I forgot to put this in here,’ and they said, ‘No worries, we’ll reprint your boarding pass.’ But if you don’t see it by the time you get up to security, they won’t let you go through TSA PreCheck if that’s not on your boarding pass.

I even tried it once, I have a Global Entry card because that also includes TSA PreCheck, and they still wouldn’t let me. So just know that you will have to have that on your boarding pass. When you get that with Clear, there’s nothing you have to do except for get to the airport and go through the Clear line. So both of them have limitations.

Limitations of TSA PreCheck

TSA PreCheck, more people are getting it so sometimes the line can get a little long, but they are very, very quick. I’ve never spent more than 10 minutes in a line at TSA PreCheck, and most of the time there’s nobody in front of me.

There was one time the TSA PreCheck line was closed when I went to an airport, and that was so irritating. Again, once you’ve skipped the line, it’s really hard to stand in line, but that’s so rare, so it’s really not an issue.

The limitations of Clear

The big limitation I would say is that even though you get to skip the security line with Clear because you’re going through that Clear line, you still have to go through regular security. So, you will still have to take your shoes off, you still will have to take your electronics off, all that kind of stuff. But if you get Clear and TSA PreCheck, then you can actually go through TSA PreCheck with the Clear line.

I don’t know why you do that because I’ve never stood in line very long with TSA PreCheck. So, if you have TSA PreCheck, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend getting Clear also unless you just really, really don’t like standing in line and you don’t want to risk it. But again, the big limitation of Clear is that you will be standing in the regular security line.

So, it’s completely up to you which one you choose. I tried really hard to give you a sort of objective review with the facts, but if it were up to me, I love TSA PreCheck. I’m going to keep it forever. I don’t see a reason to get Clear because I have TSA PreCheck, but again, everybody has their own reasons, so you can definitely decide which one you think is more important for you.

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