By Joel Hall
Security issues in a post-Sept. 11 world have extended security processing at airports across the country and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International -- the world's busiest airport -- is no exception.
However, a new program available to airport travelers is using biometrics to help shave time off the check-in process.
In October, the airport began using Clear, a new verification process in which travelers can bypass standard security lines by using a personalized Clear Card. Instead of waiting for a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) official to verify a traveler's identification, the traveler can insert his or her Clear Card into a strategically located kiosk, verify his or her identify by either fingerprint or iris scan, and head straight to a separate security lane.
Since the start of this year's Atlanta Falcon's football season, Clear has also been using the same technology to more quickly process season ticket holders. Cindy Rosenthal, Clear's vice president of media relations, said the program, which is currently in use at 21 airports across the country, has been endorsed by busy travelers, such as former Arkansas governor, Mike Huckabee.
"Clear is a fast pass through airport security," said Rosenthal. "This has been used by governors, CEOs, and just average road warriors who need to spend less time in lines."
Clear Card customers begin their application online, after which they complete their applications at a Clear enrollment station. A station attendant then scans the person's iris and/or fingerprint and puts that information onto a microchip embedded in the Clear Card.
Currently, there are five Clear enrollment centers: One in Lenox Square Mall; one inside the Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead; and three locations inside the airport -- Concourse A, Concourse C, and the South Terminal (pre-security).
Rosenthal said studies have shown the Clear Card security process to be 30 percent faster than standard processing. She added that the program "provides the highest form of security" by assuring the TSA exactly who a person is before they even make it to a metal detector.
"Most of our clients are frequent fliers," said Rosenthal. "They are people who don't want an unpredictable airport experience. You'll know that every time you come to the airport and use a Clear lane, you will be through in a matter of minutes."
To find out more about the Clear Card, visit www.flyclear.com.