CLEAR is back – biometric security returns to Orlando and Denver

In June of last year, the US lost its first biometric airport security service.

CLEAR allowed passengers to register with their service, and a special smart card helped them speed up the whole agonizing process of getting to the gate.

Several months after it shut down, it became clear that things were not going to be gone for good. Investors picked up various portions of the service, and had hoped to relaunch it by Christmas 2009. Sadly, that deadline came and went without any announcement. But now it really is back.

The new CLEAR is launching at Orlando airport, and will be available at Denver International later this month. For $179 a year, passengers can present their CLEAR card, and proceed through the checkpoint after scanning their fingerprint or iris.

In the coming months, CLEAR will also introduce a family plan, allowing family members to be added to the $179 plan for an additional $50. During the introduction period, all members will receive a free month.

Previous members of CLEAR are not being forgotten – the new CLEAR will honor all memberships, and these cards will be reactivated once CLEAR arrives at their home airport or when the old card is used at a CLEAR checkpoint.

I’m happy to see CLEAR return, but unless they manage to spread to a lot of airports in 2011, it is going to be an uphill battle to get new customers signed up. Still, if you regularly pass through Orlando or Denver, the $179 investment shouldn’t be too hard to justify.

To learn more about the CLEAR, or to sign up for a membership, head on over to their new web site.