Registered travelers hit the friendly skies at SFO

Registered traveler lanes allowing preapproved airline travelers to speed through security checkpoints — a program that has already attracted thousands — rolled out Tuesday at San Francisco International Airport.

Officials with Verified Identity Pass Inc., the company pushing the national registered traveler program called Clear, announced last month that the much-anticipated FasTrak-style lanes would be available Sept. 6. They estimated then that the program, geared toward business travelers who fly anywhere between 20 and 40 times per year, would occupy the international terminal at the end of this year.

After the announcement, 1,000 people signed up on the first day. In the month after officialsheralded its arrival, 4,000 people signed up to fly out of SFO as registered travelers, VIP spokeswoman Cindy Rosenthal said.

After completing a preliminary registration online at www.flyclear.com, a traveler must undergo a retina scan, fingerprinting and an extensive background check, comparable to those airport employees undergo before being hired, Airport Director John Martin said during the August announcement.

Travelers then fork over the annual fee of $99.95 and receive a biometric ID card that allows them to use their own lanes.

A year ago, the airport said it did not plan on adding the fast-track checkpoint lanes to its terminals, pointing to quick and painless security waits of approximately four minutes. But a host of officials from new carriers at SFO from JetBlue Airways, Virgin America, Southwest Airlines and, in October, Irish airline Aer Lingus, said the demand was there to support such a program.

SFO joins 10 other airports, including John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and Orlando International Airport in Florida, participating in the program. LaGuardia International Airport, also in New York, rolls out the program later this month.

Clear lanes are open to travelers out of domestic Terminal 1 from 4:30 a.m. to midnight, and in domestic Terminal 3 from 4:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.

VIP Chief Executive Steven Brill said the benefit lies in knowing exactly how long the security wait will be — 30 seconds to four minutes. Rosenthal said with the rollout of the program at the end of this year in the international terminal, the company hopes to grab Virgin America travelers headed to destinations such as New York.

“Now when I travel coast to coast through JFK and SFO, I’ll get the same fast, reliable experience I’ve been getting at other lanes around the country,” participant Doug Cameron said.

After completing a preliminary registration online at www.flyclear.com, a traveler must undergo a retina scan, fingerprinting and an extensive background check, comparable to those airport employees undergo before being hired, Airport Director John Martin said.

SFO registered traveler program

Starts: Now (domestic); end of 2007 (international)

Where to sign up: Online at www.flyclear.com, then at a registration kiosk

Kiosks located at: Hyatt Regency Embarcadero, SFO Terminals 1 and 3

Cost: $99.95 annually, with one-time $28 fee for background check

Corporate discounts available? Yes

Time to get card: Two to four weeks

How long it takes to get through security: 30 seconds to four minutes

How it works:

» Present biometric card to security officer

» Use thumbprint or iris to verify identity via machine

» Put carry-on belongings in bin to be scanned

» Walk through metal scanner

Airports with Clear lanes:

» Albany, N.Y.

» Cincinnati

» Indianapolis

» Newark, N.J.

» New York City (John F. Kennedy)

» Orlando, Fla.

» Reno-Tahoe, Nev.

» San Jose

» San Francisco

Clear lanes coming soon:

» New York City (LaGuardia)

» Little Rock, Ark.

» Westchester, N.Y.

– Source: Verified Identity Pass Inc.

tramroop@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Demonstrators commemorated the life of George Floyd and others killed by police outside S.F. City Hall on June 1, 2020.<ins></ins>
Chauvin verdict: SF reacts after jury finds ex-officer guilty on all charges

San Franciscans were relieved Tuesday after jurors found a former Minneapolis police… Continue reading

San Francisco Unified School District Board member Faauuga Moliga, right, pictured with Superintendent Vincent Matthews on the first day back to classrooms, will be board vice president for the remander of the 2121 term. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Faauuga Moliga named as school board vice president to replace Alison Collins

The San Francisco school board on Tuesday selected board member Fauuga Moliga… Continue reading

Legislation by Supervisor Rafael Mandelman would require The City to add enough new safe camping sites, such as this one at 180 Jones St. in the Tenderloin, to accomodate everyone living on the street. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
City would create sites for hundreds of tents under new homeless shelter proposal

Advocates say funding better spent on permanent housing

An instructor at Sava Pool teaches children drowning prevention techniques. (Jordi Molina/ Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Indoor city pools reopen for lap swimming and safety classes

Two of San Francisco’s indoor city pools reopened Tuesday, marking another step… Continue reading

A construction worker rides on top of materials being transported out of the Twin Peaks Tunnel as work continues at West Portal Station on Thursday, August 16, 2018. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA’s poor track record on capital projects risks losing ‘public trust’

Supervisors say cost overruns and delays could jeapordize future ballot revenue measures

Most Read