Clear, the company that developed the Registered Traveler program in the U.S. announced today that it is ceasing operations. All Clear lanes are shutting down effective immediately.
Here was the message sent to Clear users: “At 11:00 pm PST today, Clear will cease operations. Clear’s parent company, Verified Identity Pass, Inc. has been unable to negotiate an agreement with its senior creditor to continue operations. After today, Clear lanes will be unavailable.”
This may spell the end of the Registered Traveler program altogether. The RT program was originally called “Trusted Traveler,” in the 2001 enabling legislation (the Aviation and Transportation Security Act of 2001), but TSA quickly decided that they didn’t “trust” anyone. RT was meant to be a program that allowed travelers to subject themselves to higher background checks, in order to undergo less screening and scrutiny at the checkpoint. The idea being that if we know more about you, we can trust you not to do something stupid. As RT rolled out, the concept of less screening was tossed out the window and the program essentially became a business travelers perk (like it was for me) when you needed to get to the front of the screening line.