Biometric scan option speeds security screening at local airports

DULLES, Va. —  Biometric technology is now available at all three Washington-area airports, to quickly verify a traveler’s identity as part of the security screening process.

A New York company, Clear,  has now opened kiosks at Dulles International and Reagan National airports. Clear kiosks have been in operation at BWI-Marshall Airport for the last year.

“Clear is a biometric identity verification platform,” said David Cohen, the company’s chief administrative officer.

By analyzing a traveler’s fingerprints or iris scans, the company can determine the person holding the ticket is the person registered with the system.

Many regular travelers choose to pay the $179 annual fee to reduced the time spent in long security screening lines.

A first-time user can register at the airport, by bringing a driver’s license, passport or other government-issued photo identification.

The registration process takes five minutes. Travelers can they pass through physical security screening areas at airports before boarding their flights.

Clear kiosks are located near TSA Pre-Check lines.

“The verification process takes less than a second,” said Cohen. “Our technology will assess what the best biometric is, and will prompt you. it may be two fingers, it may be an iris, it may be your thumb.”

After the machine verifies the passenger’s identity, a Clear employee escorts the passenger to a TSA screener, without having to stand in line.

Additional family members can be added to the flyer’s account for $50 annually, while children under 18 are free.

Cohen said Clear service is currently available in 16 major airports, with more joining yearly.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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