I’ve been flying more lately, so I signed up for the Fly Clear program. Takes quite a while and seems very thorough, but as a few folks have noted, it’s basically security theatre. You give fingerprints and retinal scans, fill out your life history, and wait while they do some sort of “background check.” Passing the background check gives you the privilege of paying $99/yr to go to the front of the security line.
I just went through it for my first time in SFO this morning. Of course, they have my retinal scans and my fingerprints, but I still have to dig out my driver’s license – what is that? The main benefit seems to be the “concierge” service – they take your bag, put the card in the machine for you, and basically hammer their way through to the front of the security line for you. I would never have the chutzpah to actually do that job – I’m a little embarrassed by the stares of the people who have been waiting. I kept my eyes averted and walked through with a murmured thanks.
You still have to take off your shoes and jacket, take out your laptop and toiletries, etc – where’s the security benefit for me? Basically it’s the same as paying more for valet parking. As for actual flight security, I’m pretty disappointed that they don’t seem to take advantage of it at all – who cares if the terrorists pay $99 to go to the front of the line? We’d catch them faster that way, right?