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Is Clear Having More “Random” ID checks?

by joeheg

CLEAR is an independent security program that provides a way to clear the ID check portion of the TSA checkpoint more quickly at US airports. You have to do a one-time registration where they collect your ID information and biometric data (fingerprints and iris scans). After that, when going on a flight, you head to the CLEAR kiosks instead of going to a regular line.


You can combine CLEAR with TSA Precheck to get through the checkpoint before everyone else, but depending on the airport, the CLEAR line might be longer than the TSA PreCheck line. However that’s generally the exception. As an example, when we’re flying from Orlando, we usually use CLEAR.

When we’re planning to go on the CLEAR line, there are things we do to prepare. Since we’re not going to use our ID to get through the checkpoint, I put my wallet with my ID in my carry-on bag. The only thing I keep out is my boarding pass, or my phone if I didn’t print my pass before the checkpoint.

On recent flights, both Sharon and I have been selected for a “random” ID check. Since this was our first experience, the CLEAR rep explained we’d have to show our driver’s license to the TSA representative to get through security. Frankly, I can’t see how my physical driver’s license proves that I am me more than my fingerprint or retinal scan.

My main problem with this is that I have almost no time to dig through my bag to get my ID, further holding up the line at the checkpoint. In addition, I thought it was strange that we both were randomly selected. It could be that we both were unlucky but when I searched online, it seems that many CLEAR members are being asked for their IDs for “Random ID checks.”

Anecdotally, this Reddit thread shows many CLEAR members getting “randomly” selected for ID checks on most flights.

For us, I’m going to make sure I keep my ID in my pocket until I’m through the CLEAR checkpoint, in case I have to show it to the TSA representative. I understand that random checks help to make sure the system is working as intended. But if I have to go through the extra hassle of enrolling with CLEAR, and paying for the privilege, they should deliver on the expedited experience that they promise. Don’t make me get fingerprinted and retinal scanned but I still need to show my ID for literally every other flight.

Of course, I understand and accept that the TSA security checkpoint is a black box where no one gets to look or even ask questions about what’s happening. According to the TSA and DHS, that’s to keep the bad actors from learning ways to circumvent the system. That’s why we can’t bring water bottles with us, can’t bring wrapped presents and have to be careful about how many bags of snacks are in our bags.

But there’s a problem when people who are willing to have their identity checked and clear those hurdles still have to show an ID to get through a checkpoint when the government has their fingerprints and retinal scans.

What do you think? Have you had to go through a “Random ID check” with CLEAR recently?


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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Sam May 25, 2023 - 12:57 pm

Yes, pretty much every other time. Also, the retina scan continues to never work. LOL

Monica May 25, 2023 - 2:19 pm

My partner and I get “random” ID checks 80-90% of the time with clear now. So bad it makes clear usually take longer that just regular precheck lines.

Alex W May 25, 2023 - 4:47 pm

I’m glad it’s not just me. I’ve gotten the ID check maybe 3 out of the last 6 times I’ve passed through Clear checkpoints. Lines also seem a little slower these days – I wonder if this is contributing.

AJ May 25, 2023 - 5:11 pm

Yes!! Flight from EWR to DTW 2 weeks ago was the first time I got randomly checked and I had to go through the process of digging out my license, having the rep proceed to hold on to it for the next 10 minutes while I waited in line, and then put it back before putting my bags on conveyor belt. Rep said it was random except that on my return flight, I got it again! Extremely annoying and defeats the purpose of being expedited through the lane.

dee May 25, 2023 - 5:36 pm

Getting ridiclous with the XXtra checks. One time we had to re-enter all of our license information in and other questions then do ID check at the Kiosk then do fingers again …Then it said random check so had to get ID out again to show TSA and then do physical check nuts happening tooo much


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