New California bill would restrict line-skipping service ‘Clear’ at airports in name of equity

Proposed new legislation in California would block expedited security screening company Clear from operating at the state’s airports, as its supporters say the service raises equity concerns given that it effectively allows the most rich to pass before passengers waiting in line to be screened by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Bill SB-1372, the first of its kind in the United States, would require third-party providers like Clear to have their own dedicated security lane or lose the ability to operate at California airports.

Clear charges its members $189 a year to verify passengers’ identities at airports, allowing them to bypass TSA checkpoints. The service is used in more than 55 airports across the United States, as well as dozens of sports stadiums and other venues, according to its website. Members verify their identity at Clear kiosks. It is separate from TSA Pre-Check, although many Clear members use both services.



Passengers use a Clear kiosk which allows for quick and secure identity confirmation. (Lindsey Nicholson/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images / Getty Images)

State Sen. Josh Newman, a Democrat, is sponsoring the bill.

“It’s a fundamental issue of fairness when you see people signed up for a concierge service being escorted past people who have waited a long time to get to the front of the TSA line,” Newman told CBS MoneyWatch .

“Everyone is defeated by the travel experience, and if Clear walks a customer in front of you and says to TSA, ‘Sorry, I have someone better,’ that’s really frustrating.”

Republican Sen. Janet Nguyen has expressed similar concerns but does not support the bill, a spokesperson told Fox Business.

“I understand the frustration expressed in Senator Newman’s bill,” Nguyen, who sits on the Transportation Committee, told Politico. “It becomes a showdown between the haves and the have-nots where those who can afford it jump in front of the rest of us. They even cut in front of travelers with TSA pre-boarding passes who have been screened by TSA. “

Six major airlines – Delta, United, Southwest, Alaska, JetBlue and Hawaiian – oppose the bill and this month wrote a letter to Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Dave Cortese saying its passage would result in loss of income.

They wrote that the services had been used more than 5 million times in California in 2023.


Passengers walk past a TSA agent at Ronald Reagan Airport

A Transportation Security Administration officer at Ronald Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, November 21, 2023. (Haiyun Jiang/Bloomberg via Getty Images/Getty Images)

The airlines argued that the bill “not only threatens to increase costs for air carriers, but also severely restricts the ability of airports to effectively manage queues at the security checkpoint, thereby translated into a negative travel experience for our California customers.”

A Clear spokesperson echoed the airline’s concerns.

“We will continue to work constructively with legislators as well as the federal government and our airport partners to ensure that operations at California airports are as smooth and efficient as possible,” Ricardo Quinto said in a statement to Politico.

Supporters of the bill include the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA and the union representing transportation security officers in Oakland, Sacramento and San Jose.


TSA badge seal

Passengers go through TSA security at Los Angeles International Airport on January 10. (Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images/Getty Images)

“Clear is nothing more than luxury reselling by paying for space in the airport security queue, where those who pay can skip the queue at the direct expense of all other travelers,” said James Murdock, president of AFGE Local 1230, the TSA officers’ union. local, wrote in a separate letter to Cortese, according to CBS.

“While Clear may save its paying customers time, non-customers suffer from Clear’s aggressive sales tactics and longer security lines when entering a critical security screening process.”

The bill was scheduled to go before the California State Senate Transportation Committee on Tuesday.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This report has been updated to clarify the bill’s impact on Clear at California airports.

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Sara Adm

Aimant les mots, Sara Smith a commencé à écrire dès son plus jeune âge. En tant qu'éditeur en chef de son journal scolaire, il met en valeur ses compétences en racontant des récits impactants. Smith a ensuite étudié le journalisme à l'université Columbia, où il est diplômé en tête de sa classe. Après avoir étudié au New York Times, Sara décroche un poste de journaliste de nouvelles. Depuis dix ans, il a couvert des événements majeurs tels que les élections présidentielles et les catastrophes naturelles. Il a été acclamé pour sa capacité à créer des récits captivants qui capturent l'expérience humaine.
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