TSA PreCheck Vs. Clear: Which Expedited Security Program is Right for You?

Before boarding a flight, travelers often encounter the complexities of airport security procedures. To streamline this process, two expedited security programs, TSA PreCheck and Clear, offer dedicated lanes and unique benefits. Understanding the differences between these programs is essential for travelers seeking efficiency and convenience.

Overview of TSA PreCheck

TSA PreCheck, operated by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), expedites the security screening process at over 200 U.S. airports. Participants enjoy benefits such as keeping shoes, belts, and jackets on, leaving laptops and liquids in carry-on bags, and passing through metal detectors instead of full-body scanners. While TSA PreCheck doesn’t guarantee faster screening times, it enhances the overall experience for enrolled travelers.

Overview of Clear

Clear is a private membership program that focuses on expediting document and identity screening. With biometric security kiosks available at more than 50 U.S. airports, Clear members can verify their identity using fingerprints and eye scans. Upon confirmation, Clear representatives escort members to dedicated security lines, bypassing traditional ID verification queues.

Cost and Membership Options

TSA PreCheck membership costs $78 every five years and can also be obtained through Global Entry membership. In contrast, Clear offers two membership tiers: Clear Plus, priced at $189 per year for expedited airport services, and a free general Clear membership for stadium and arena access. Discounts may be available for military personnel and government employees, while some credit cards offer fee reimbursements for both programs.

Application Process and Enrollment

Applying for TSA PreCheck involves filling out an online form, paying the fee, and attending an in-person interview at an enrollment center. Upon approval, travelers receive a Known Traveler Number for use in airline reservations. Clear enrollment requires online registration and in-person verification, with an option to complete the process at Clear airport locations. Children under 18 can accompany enrolled adults in the Clear lane.

Integration and Compatibility

While TSA PreCheck focuses on streamlining luggage and body screening, Clear expedites identity verification processes. Travelers can utilize both programs simultaneously, leveraging Clear for identity verification and TSA PreCheck for expedited luggage screening. This dual approach maximizes efficiency and convenience for frequent flyers.


In conclusion, both TSA PreCheck and Clear offer valuable benefits for travelers seeking expedited airport security. While TSA PreCheck is widely available and less expensive, Clear provides additional perks such as access to stadium and arena expedited entry. Understanding individual preferences and travel habits is crucial in determining which program best suits one’s needs, ultimately enhancing the travel experience.

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