Off Topic: Clear Shutting Down

Airport security line expediter Clear is apparently shutting down. I had flirted with joining for some time but the subscription fee held me back. Now I won’t get the chance; I saw this in my email this morning:

Picture 6

It illustrates that when consumers are getting something for free and you ask them to pay, you’ve got to have a really strong “value proposition.” One might have thought that getting through the security line was one. But apparently the service couldn’t get enough people to buy in — literally.

8 Responses to “Off Topic: Clear Shutting Down”

  1. Jay Small Says:

    I’ve had a Clear card for a couple of years, though my “home” airport neither had nor really needed Clear lanes. It was handy when traveling to/from hub cities where security lines ran long and slow.

    So now I’m left with two questions, unanswered in the “we’re quitting” e-mail to customers and the curt note on the Web page:

    1. Do I have any prayer of a refund for unused months on my membership?

    2. What happens to my personally identifiable information and the biometrics Clear recorded when I registered for the program? If I destroy my smart card, does that make my info in Clear’s database untouchable?

  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    I don’t have answers Jay. There’s a danger they’ll sell the database as an asset. Probably no hope of any refund.

  3. Customer privacy after shutdown? Hardly Clear | Jay Small | Small Initiatives Says:

    […] privacy after shutdown? Hardly Clear By Jay Smallat 1:05 pm 6/23/2009 Greg Sterling noted the end of Clear, the program that let travelers pay to register with biometrics in exchange for swifter passage […]

  4. ian Says:

    i admit it. i had it for about 2 yrs. allowed me to have near certainty i could go from curbside to gate in under 9 minutes. hated the fact that lobbying TSA was the sole reason for the existence of the business. it is more than annoying to have to stand in line behind the flier (today!) who apparently hadn’t been to an airport since 2000 and takes of shoes, etc in slow motion

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  6. AhmedF Says:

    Ian – you see analogous behavior every day at the grocery store.

    “Oh right I owe you money! How shocking. Let me pull out my checkbook and slowly write you a check.”

    Or maybe it is just use online-people obsessed with efficiency 🙂

  7. Greg Sterling Says:


    these are opportunities to practice compassion 🙂

  8. AhmedF Says:

    Airline I can almost excuse because you first have to go through the person who has to check your boarding pass and ID. And in my case, usually results in a ‘sir you have been randomly selected for a security check’.

    But the grocery store? Come on people – you obviously have to pay for your stuff at the end sheesh.

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