United Airlines to use biometrics to help you fly through airport security

United Airlines is working with biometrics company Clear to bring its retina and fingerprint-screening facilities to more airports.

The companies announced the partnership Monday as United said it was also investing in Clear. The airline will bring biometric screening to its hubs at Newark Liberty International Airport and Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport later this summer, and it will also support Clear’s efforts to add Clear lanes at Chicago's O’Hare airport.

Enrolling with Clear allows passengers to confirm their identity using eye and fingerprint recognition in order to bypass part of the security screening process. The company said its system works hand-in-hand with TSA PreCheck, so anyone with both will have an even more streamlined security process for the travel document check and physical screening.

“Clear’s secure and seamless biometric security option creates an expedited travel experience that many of our frequent flyers already use and love,” said Luc Bondar, United’s vice president of loyalty and president of MileagePlus. ”We’re excited to partner with Clear to expand their presence at our hub airports and to provide all MileagePlus members with either free or deeply discounted memberships.”

Clear currently operates at more than 30 airports. The company has also partnered with Major League Baseball for entry into games and Hertz for rental car pickup.

“It is an incredibly exciting time in the travel industry and we’re thrilled to partner with United to deliver easier and more predictable experiences from curb-to-gate and beyond,” said Caryn Seidman Becker, Clear’s chairman and CEO. “Our shared focus on the customer experience will enable us to reduce friction at every touchpoint and help travelers enjoy more of what they love.”’

The service is available to U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents and citizens of U.S. territories age 18 or older.

Clear stores members’ biometric information -- not any other party -- and the company uses administrative, technical and physical safeguards to protect its systems and information, it said.


A Clear membership costs $179 per year. MileagePlus members can get a membership for a discounted $119; United U.S. credit card holders or Premier members can get a discounted membership for $109. A free Clear membership is included for Premier 1K members.

United isn’t the only airline to work with Clear. Delta has also partnered with the company, and its SkyMiles members can receive similar discounts.