California considers ban on line-skipping service Clear

A state Senate committee held an initial hearing on a first-of-its-kind proposed law in the U.S. concerning airport security.

If passed, the law would mandate that private companies like Clear either establish and finance their own dedicated TSA-staffed security lanes or face a ban from all nine California airports utilizing the service.

As air travel increases, so do crowds and tensions, unless travelers can afford a shortcut service. Clear members pay $189 for a service that verifies their identity using facial, iris, and fingerprint biometrics unique to each traveler.

Fullerton Democrat Senator Josh Newman criticized Clear, stating it fails to deliver on its promises.

"This service, as part of the larger system, would enhance the efficiency of airports and also improve security. And in fact, neither of those things is actually the case. What your membership does, is it gives you the right to to cut the line," said Newman.

Rapper Guapdad 4000 said his Clear membership often determines whether he catches his flight.

"I do a lot of traveling in the summer and my team has to come with me, photographer, manager and, if we're all late for the flight, or if we all need to be moving at a faster pace, it's cool to have that access," he said.

During non-busy times, TSA PreCheck, Clear, or the general security line don't make much difference, as travelers pass through TSA quickly. However, during peak travel seasons, it makes quite a difference.

Newman likened Clear to an extra-cost theme park pass, allowing holders to bypass waits at popular rides but in a public facility.

"Do we want all of us taxpayers who paid for a public asset, like TSA, to have unequal access?"questioned Newman.

A Southwest passenger said, "I think for those who can afford it, it would be a nice luxury, but not everybody can afford that."

Newman wants Clear to finance an additional dedicated TSA security lane at each airport, similar tp Delta Airlines with its Delta One service at Los Angeles International Airport.

Clear said it is improving conditions by "creating hundreds of jobs, sharing more than $13 million in annual revenue with our California airport partners, and serving nearly 1 million Californians to ensure all travelers have a safer, easier checkpoint experience."

Newsom raised concerns about security breaches.

"There's lots of cases, over the last couple years, where unauthorized travelers have used Clear as a way of breaching TSA security," he said.

Several airlines, including Southwest, United, and JetBlue are pushing back against the bill, saying that the revenue lost from Clear could result in increased airfares.