Ed McMahon, Farah, and MJ all in the same week. God rest their souls. Travelers experienced another loss this week as well when Verified Identity Pass, Inc. abruptly shut down all of its Clear lanes in airports nationwide on Monday.
I’ve previously posted on my fondness for the concept of Clear, and specifically how improved the security experience in Atlanta was because of my Clear membership. A number of things contributed to the demise of Clear. TSA never supported the idea even though it was mandated to pursue the concept of a registered traveler program by Congress. TSA’s lack of enthusiasm relegated Clear to something of a line-cut program rather than one where “trusted” travelers could bypass portions of the screening process.
Had Clear lived up to its original vision, I think travelers would have lined up in droves to join, and would probably have paid more than $179.00 dollars per year for the privilege. As it was, heavy metal elite flyers already had access to shorter security lines, and Clear’s inability to provide anything more than a shortcut to the front of the line meant that many travelers had no real incentive to join.
And if all this wasn’t enough, the economy tanked. Fewer people are flying, and the corresponding reduction in lines at security have all combined to make Clear a less than compelling investment for scarce travel dollars. Throw in a handful of well-publicized goof-ups which compromised the personal data of large numbers of travelers, and you have a recipe for exactly what happened.
Clear was good to me while it lasted. Clear, rest in peace.