United Airlines has announced that it is buying a stake in biometric screening firm Clear, CNBC reports. Clear was founded in 2010 and since then has garnered 3.8 million members who use its biometric screening systems at select airports around the country to move through security checkpoints more quickly. Clear charges $179 a year for passengers to use its biometric kiosks at airports.
Clear is currently available at United’s U.S. hub airports in Los Angeles; San Francisco; Washington, D.C.; and Denver, but the new deal will see Clear’s biometric screening kiosks be added at United’s other hub airports of Chicago O’Hare, Houston International, and Newark Liberty. In total, Clear has its biometric kiosks at more than 30 airports in the U.S.
Announcing the deal, Michael Covey, managing director of MileagePlus premier programs for United, said, “Our customers consistently tell us they want expedited security. We think this partnership with Clear will improve their experience.” Clear’s chairman and CEO Caryn Seidman-Becker said, “Our shared focus on the customer experience will enable us to reduce friction at every touch point and help travelers enjoy more of what they love.”
But neither company revealed how much United is actually investing in Clear. And United won’t be Clear’s only airline owner. Delta Airlines has a current ownership stake in the company as well. Given two of Clear’s major owners are now airlines, it seems like biometric screening systems at airports will become the norm one day—and probably sooner rather than later.