TSA PreCheck vs. Clear: Which Program Is Better for Frequent Travelers?

Family members can benefit from these programs, too. Children under 18 don’t pay membership fees to join Clear, and they can use the Clear lane only when traveling with another member. Also, children under the age of 12 can use the PreCheck expedited security line for free when traveling with a parent or guardian who is a TSA PreCheck member. So, both programs prove useful for those traveling with kids.

Is TSA PreCheck better than Clear?

Yes. For most people, TSA PreCheck is better than Clear because it is available in more airports and makes passing through airport security less cumbersome. Having only Clear does not permit you to use an expedited security line.

TSA PreCheck is available to use when flying more than 80 airlines from more than 200 US airports, while Clear is an option at more than 50 airports and stadiums. That means that Clear can get you to the front of the line at certain sporting or concert events at stadiums, too. Still, TSA PreCheck is available in more places and offers more security lane benefits since you don’t have to remove shoes, light jackets, or electronic devices.

Another reason why TSA PreCheck trumps Clear is that it is automatically included for those who are approved for Global Entry, which requires a much more stringent series of security review and interview requirements. If approved for Global Entry, you are automatically enrolled in TSA PreCheck, which is a nice perk, since both are trusted traveler programs. Clear is a completely separate program that has its own registration process.

Frequent international travelers can save time by applying for Global Entry first since it comes with TSA PreCheck if you are approved. If you stick with travel between American borders, Clear will bring you to the front of the TSA line. But, without TSA PreCheck, you will still have to remove electronics, liquids, and shoes when moving through the security lanes.

Does Clear give you TSA PreCheck?

No. Applying for Clear and paying the application fee does not automatically approve you for TSA PreCheck. Both have separate application processes.

Global Entry approval gives you automatic TSA PreCheck at no additional cost, but Clear does not come with any additional expedited airport security membership.

TSA PreCheck begins with an online application where you are either denied (due to certain criminal records or providing fraudulent information) or receive conditional approval. Then, you have to visit an application center for a short interview as part of the final application process. For Clear, there is no in-person interview, but then again, the benefits are quite different.

Once approved, you will receive a Known Traveler Number (KTN) that you would add to any airline frequent flier profile you have so that you can use the benefits of TSA PreCheck on any eligible airline tickets.

If you are considering Clear, check to see if your local airport (or those you typically fly from) has Clear benefits. If not, it may not be worth the membership fee.

What are the benefits of Clear vs TSA PreCheck?

Clear only gets you to the front of the security line. While TSA PreCheck also has its own dedicated security lane, it has the added benefit of not needing to remove shoes, electronics and liquids from your carry-on. Clear members without TSA PreCheck do not receive those benefits.