California Bill Seeks to Prohibit Clear Operations at State Airports — Here’s the Controversy

by Alice

A new legislative proposal in California aims to bar the biometric security firm Clear from operating in the state, citing concerns that its services create an uneven playing field favoring affluent travelers.

Should it be enacted, Senate Bill 1372 (SB-1372) would prohibit Clear from functioning within California airports, with detractors arguing that the service unfairly permits wealthier passengers to bypass Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening queues, as reported by CBS News.


California Senator Josh Newman, who is spearheading the bill, expressed his stance on the matter, stating in a post on X, “The least you can expect when you have to go through the security line at the airport is that you don’t suffer the indignity of somebody pushing you out of the way to let the rich person pass you.”


Newman emphasized to CBS News that ensuring “basic equity” is crucial, especially when observing individuals subscribed to a concierge service being ushered ahead of others who have endured lengthy waits to reach the front of the TSA line.


“Everyone is beaten down by the travel experience, and if Clear escorts a customer in front of you and tells TSA, ‘Sorry, I have someone better,’ it’s really frustrating,” Newman added.

Clear functions as a subscription-based service, granting travelers access to an expedited security line typically shorter than conventional TSA lanes. The service employs biometric data — such as fingerprints or iris scans — to verify the identities of its members. Currently, Clear operates in over 50 airports, stadiums, and other venues nationwide.

A Clear Plus membership commands an annual fee of $189, with the option to add up to three additional members for $99 each. Certain credit cards also offer full or partial reimbursement of the membership fee as part of their cardholder benefits, including the American Express Platinum card.

At the time of reporting, Travel + Leisure was unable to obtain a comment from Clear representatives.

In addition to Clear, travelers seeking to expedite their airport security experience can opt for TSA PreCheck, another paid service facilitating swifter screening procedures. With TSA PreCheck, priced at $70 for online renewal or $78 for in-person application, participants are permitted to retain their shoes, belts, and lightweight jackets during screening, while also leaving laptops and liquids in their bags.



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