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Home / Business / Fingerprints and eyeball scans: A faster way to get through security at Logan

Fingerprints and eyeball scans: A faster way to get through security at Logan



Logan is the 29th airport to offer Clear. It will begin in Terminal A, which is dominated by Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines. But Clear President and co-founder Ken Cornick said he hopes it will eventually expand throughout the airport.

"We've had a great demand for it from people in Boston," he said. "We would like to be everywhere. In most of our airports we are ubiquitous. I'm sure the launch will go well and we hope to get more news to share in the near future."

Clear is not the same as TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, two programs that prescribe passengers and allow them to move through the security process faster. Clear members still need to go through the TSA survey. But Clear removes the first and sometimes unbearable step of queuing to get a boarding pass scanned and a license or passport checked. It is often the step where cows can be the longest.

"The vast majority of our customers use Clear in line with TSA PreCheck," Cornick said. "That way, they can move quickly from start to finish."

TSA PreCheck is $ 85 for five years. Global Entry is $ 1

00 for five years (but automatically registers you in TSA PreCheck). You do not need TSA PreCheck to get Clear.

Biometrics, which can refer to everything from fingerprints to face recognition, is a growing presence at US airports. The Department of Homeland Security said last month that Customs and Border Protection is working towards biometric technology to cover over 97 percent of outbound airlines over the next four years.

Passengers can start the Clear online registration process and exit at the airport – or complete the entire operation at an airport kiosk. (Ready call them pods.) There are no deals needed to sign up. Travelers go to a pod, respond to security questions, and then get iris and fingerprints scanned.

The whole process takes about five minutes, and the service can then be used immediately. The company currently has 3 million members.

When the members arrive at the airport, they scan the irises or fingerprints, and then they go to Clear Lane, where "ambassadors" include members to screeners.
There will be 35 ambassadors in total at Logan. There are eight clear kiosks in Terminal A, four for people using TSA PreCheck, and four for those who go through regular TSA security. There are also four enrollment kiosks.

If Clear sounds familiar, it's because it's not the first time the company has been with Logan. Ten years ago, it withdrew after about four years at the airport when the company was filed for bankruptcy. CEO and co-founder Caryn Seidman-Becker and Cornick bought Clear in bankruptcy and launched the company in 2010. Cornick said it is now a brand new company, new technology, new management team, but the same brand.

Finally, Customs and Border Protection hopes to create a process where travelers use biometrics instead of boarding passes and ID throughout the boarding process, according to John Wagner, Deputy Assistant Commissioner.

JetBlue began testing face recognition technology in Boston two years ago on international flights, collaborating with Customs and Border Protection. The program is out of the pilot phase, and JetBlue has recently expanded its service to a greater extent to other airports. Travelers are photographed at the gate instead of checking in with boarding passes. These images are then sent to customs and border protection, and those with successful matches are allowed to board without displaying a ticket or passport. Since the program started, the JetBlue table has 1400 aircraft and fitted 125,000 passengers with face recognition.

Clear is a completely optional program that does not work with the Customs and Border Protection. Cornick said the company protects members' privacy and does not sell or share information.

Delta collaborates with Clear three years ago, incorporating technology into lounges. You can access the Delta lounge in Boston through a clear scan or fingerprint. Delta has also experimented with replacing boarding passes at the gateway with Clear biometrics. Members of Delta's SkyMiles program also receive a Clear Membership discount. The addition to Clear in Boston, especially at Delta's Terminal A, gives the airline another advantage as it aggressively adds flights here.

There is a chance that Clears biometrics will soon also be able to enter sports venues in Boston. Cornick didn't want to reveal details, but said he had a lot of discussions with Boston teams.

Adding Clear would give fans the opportunity to skip lines coming into play. Cornick said that eventually the technology could be expanded to allow people to purchase fingerprint concessions.

"I think this has great appeal for applications across the board," he said. "One thing most people don't like to do is queue."


Christopher Muther can be reached at muther@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @ Chris_Muther .


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