Flying out and in of main airports means standing in a lot of traces. There’s a line to examine your luggage, and one other one to board the airplane. However probably the most infamous of all of the airport traces are those queuing up at Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) screening checkpoints.

Should you discover your persistence for these tedious safety checks, or your tolerance for the cardio exercise that comes with sprinting to your gate earlier than the ultimate boarding name, are waning, there are a few methods to skip to the entrance of the TSA line — however activating these superpowers will value you. Two of the highest packages aimed to hurry you thru the pre-flight screening course of are TSA PreCheck and Clear. Every comes with totally different advantages however finally purpose to save lots of you time at airports together with San Francisco Worldwide Airport, the place prolonged safety traces and flight delays are commonplace.

So, within the battle of Clear vs. TSA PreCheck, which one is probably best for you? 

What precisely is TSA PreCheck and Clear?

In a nutshell, PreCheck is a government-run program that makes screening much less of a trouble. Lanes are normally shorter and enrollees don’t should undergo the rigamarole of taking off their footwear or belts or eradicating their laptop computer from their carry-on luggage. Clear, on the hand, is a publicly-traded firm which provides a membership that zips you thru safety sooner by utilizing biometric know-how to verify your id, letting you narrow in entrance of vacationers going by way of the usual TSA screening course of. 

Given the differing natures of every program, you could possibly enroll in each to reliably set private data by zipping by way of the check-in course of every time you fly.

What does TSA PreCheck allow you to do?

Along with gaining access to the shorter safety traces, TSA PreCheck lets its members carry on their footwear, mild jackets and belts and doesn’t make its members take away their laptops or travel-sized liquids from their luggage once they undergo a screening. (Hooray for no extra barefoot shuffles throughout the airport linoleum.) Does that make a lot of a distinction? Practically 90% of TSA PreCheck members waited lower than 5 minutes in airport safety traces, in keeping with TSA’s March 2023 information.

TSA PreCheck is accessible at 200 airports in the USA and this system expanded to its first worldwide location in 2022, including Lynden Pindling Worldwide Airport within the Bahamas. At SFO, all safety checkpoints besides F3 provide TSA PreCheck lanes. At San José Mineta Worldwide Airport, PreCheck lanes can be found in each Terminal A and B.

A TSA agent checks the identification of a passenger passing by way of safety within the terminal at Ronald Reagan Washington Nationwide Airport in Arlington, Va.

SAUL LOEB/AFP by way of Getty Photographs

How a lot does TSA PreCheck value?

Whereas we’re all getting pumelled by inflation, TSA PreCheck prices even have gone down in recent times. In 2022, IDEMIA, the TSA PreCheck enrollment supplier, lowered this system’s enrollment charge from $85 to $78. TSA PreCheck memberships are good for 5 years and you’ll renew the membership in-person for $78 or on-line for $70. A couple of dozen bank cards additionally even provide PreCheck as a membership profit, whether or not which means masking the fee in full, providing a partial credit score or permitting cardholders to pay the charge with rewards factors.

To get TSA PreCheck, you will first should submit a web based utility after which schedule an appointment at an enrollment middle, of which there are greater than 500 throughout the nation. On the appointment, you will get fingerprinted and undergo a background examine. The appointment itself takes 10 minutes, in keeping with TSA. IDEMIA has additionally rolled out some walk-up enrollment facilities at airports together with Portland Worldwide Airport, Orlando Worldwide Airport, Nashville Worldwide Airport, Austin-Bergstrom Worldwide Airport and SoCal’s Ontario Worldwide Airport.

When you’re enrolled, you will get a Recognized Traveler Quantity that you could hyperlink to your airline reservations and that can present up in your boarding cross, changing into your ticket to entry the TSA PreCheck lanes.

Travelers at Florida's West Palm Beach Airport use a Clear kiosk that allows quicker trips through security for a fee.

Vacationers at Florida’s West Palm Seashore Airport use a Clear kiosk that permits faster journeys by way of safety for a charge.

Lindsey Nicholson/UCG/Common Photographs Group by way of Getty Photographs

What does a Clear membership allow you to do? 

With a Clear membership, you will nonetheless should endure the bodily TSA safety screening however you’ll skip all of the stuff main as much as, together with the complete line, as a result of your id is verified by the corporate’s know-how. Clear makes use of biometrics, like an eye fixed scan or fingerprint, to establish you rather than an ID card or different doc. When you’re scanned in, a Clear consultant will escort you to the entrance of the safety line. Nevertheless, generally you will nonetheless get flagged for a random ID examine with TSA.

When coupled with TSA PreCheck, you possibly can actually transfer by way of safety with Clear as a result of along with not having to take off your footwear or take away your laptop computer out of your bag, there is a good likelihood you will be within the shortest line.

How is Clear totally different from TSA PreCheck?

A serious distinction between the packages is that Clear is sort of a bit dearer than TSA PreCheck. Enrollment in Clear sometimes prices $189 a yr, however the firm runs promotions and works with numerous bank card and airline loyalty packages that may grant you a reduced and even free membership. For instance, Premier 1K members with United’s MileagePlus program and Diamond Medallion members with Delta SkyMiles each get free annual Clear memberships, whereas American Specific cardholders get credit that will cowl their total membership charge.

Enrolling in Clear includes visiting one of many firm’s airport kiosks, however you possibly can begin the appliance course of on-line. Clear is accessible at 50 airports nationwide, together with each SFO and SJC. You can even use it to bypass the longer safety traces at some stadiums and arenas, together with Chase Heart, Oracle Park, PayPal Park and SAP Heart.

Travelers walk past a TSA PreCheck application center at Terminal C of the LaGuardia Airport on January 27, 2014 in New York City.

Vacationers stroll previous a TSA PreCheck utility middle at Terminal C of the LaGuardia Airport on January 27, 2014 in New York Metropolis.

John Moore/Getty Photographs

How is World Entry totally different from TSA PreCheck and Clear?

World Entry is a program provided by U.S. Customs and Border Safety particularly aimed toward worldwide vacationers. Should you ceaselessly take journeys  overseas, you could wish to take into account singing up for World Entry, particularly as a result of its advantages embrace automated enrollment in TSA PreCheck.

World Entry is $100 for 5 years, and it consists of expedited screening by CBP upon reentering the nation along with these TSA PreCheck membership advantages in your home flights and people leaving the nation. So which means for $22 greater than it prices for only a TSA PreCheck membership, you’ll get expedited safety screening and transfer by way of the dreaded customs line faster, which turns out to be useful whenever you’ve received a good connection and a great deal of individuals are ready to be screened.

A draw back of World Entry is there are fewer enrollment facilities than there are for TSA PreCheck and they’re largely present in airports, together with SFO. You will discover a listing of World Entry enrollment facilities on the CBP’s web site. Notice that you simply additionally want a passport to use for World Entry, not like TSA PreCheck.