United Airlines Inks Deal with CLEAR to Expand Biometric Security Option for Travelers

CLEAR CEO Ken Cornick
July 29, 2019

The opportunity to breeze through airport security just expanded Monday with United Airlines' announcement that it has inked a deal with CLEAR, the biometric security company that is increasingly present in airports across the country.

“First and foremost, it helps us to expand our domestic network,” Ken Cornick, CLEAR’s president and co-founder, told Cheddar.

Already operational in over 30 airports, CLEAR uses biometrics such as fingerprints and iris scans to verify a person's identity, which it says speeds up travel security processes and creates a more secure system. The company's identity platform already has over three million members and is approved for use by the Department of Homeland Security.

The investment will give United an equity stake in CLEAR and provide United’s MileagePlus users free or discounted CLEAR membership, which normally cost $179 a year. The partnership will also allow CLEAR to expand to major United hubs such as Newark Liberty and Chicago O'Hare international airports.

"Our new partnership with CLEAR is another proof point of how we are always looking to improve traveling with United, in this case by making the airport experience more convenient for customers," Luc Bondar, vice president of loyalty and president of MileagePlus at United ($UAL), said in a statement.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

CLEAR is also used in several major arenas and sports stadiums such as New York’s Yankee Stadium and the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

“Long-term, our goal is to do away with the wallet... biometrics can unlock frictionless experiences wherever you transact,” Cornick told Cheddar.

Cornick added, however, that while the system is safe and secure, it will always be an opt-in service for those wary of submitting biological data to get on a plane or watch a basketball game.