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Business Travel Travel Industry

What You Need To Know About TSA’s New Ban on Powders from International Flights

This past weekend, a specific ban started its enforcement on flights entering the United States. This time, the focus in on the amount of powders allowed in carry-on luggage. Impacting only international flights entering the United States, it will not affect domestic flight travel. Read more about the specifics of the new procedures below.

What’s happening?

Foreign airports with direct flights to the United States are requested to provide additional scrutiny to fliers carrying 12 ounces or more of powder in their carry-on luggage. Many international airlines have already placed heavier scrutiny on powders since an incident last July in Australia.

This is in addition to the increased security scanning procedures implemented in April; which included removing food, powders, liquids from carry-on bags while going through security checkpoints.

 

What might be included in this ban on powder?

American Airlines helped define exactly what is a powder in a recent press release – “Powder-like substances are described as fine dry particles produced by the grinding, crushing, or disintegration of a solid substance.”

If you’re like me, you’re probably racking your brain to think of what common powders might even find their way into luggage. Turns out, there’s quite a few items, like: cosmetics, coffee, spices, baby powder, and protein mixes. Fortunately, baby formula, medicine, and cremated human remains are exempt from these secondary screenings. Gunpowder remains prohibited from all checked and carry-on luggage.

 

If you need to travel with 12 ounces or more of a powdery substance

It won’t necessarily be confiscated. Likely, it will be requested that you remove the powder, and it will go through an additional screening. If the powder is still unidentifiable, it may then need to be discarded. You can also check you baggage with the large amount of powder to avoid this situation completely.

 

Read more:

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Business Travel Travel Industry

Are Travelers Dissatisfied with TSA PreCheck?

Don’t you hate it when your reliable shortcut home becomes mainstream? Or when the coffee shop is always out of your favorite muffin due to high demand? It always ruffles some feathers when previously hidden gems become commonplace. Unfortunately, this may be happening with TSA PreCheck. In a recent article by USAToday, a number of travelers complain that TSA PreCheck is not all that it’s cracked up to be. They claim to watch travelers speed through traditional security lines, while they stand by in their PreCheck lines. In a service that’s main objective is to expedite security lines, what’s really happening here?

What is TSA PreCheck

This premium service provided by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) allows travelers to simply walk through security lines; without removing shoes, computers, light jackets, or even pausing for additional screening. It requires a formal application, fee, in-person interview, and background check conducted by the FBI to be included in the program. Once the traveler has been approved, they are free to use the TSA PreCheck lines at security gates.

What’s happening?

In a recent survey of 2,500 North American travelers, 45% of fliers already enrolled in TSA PreCheck thought that the wait times were too long and the price was too high to be worth the membership. The same survey found this grievance was even higher among business travelers at 57%.

TSA rebutted with data, showing nationwide average wait times as five minutes, compared to less than 10 minutes for travelers in standard lines. Additionally, though the number of travelers signing up for TSA PreCheck is significantly lower than expected, it is continually growing. The program doubled from 2.3 million in March 2016 to 4.6 million in 2017.

What could be the potential issues?

If TSA PreCheck designed to speed fliers through security, what could be causing these unexpected inconveniences? There seems to be two main issues of contention here.

  1. Randomness arrival of travelers to the airport. There is no way of knowing when travelers will arrive and start through security for their day of travel.
  2. Continually providing free TSA Pre-Check status to other fliers. Though TSA announced earlier this year that they have begun limiting access to these expedited security lanes, most frequent travelers aren’t see the change. Overall, travelers are questioning why there are not more TSA employees stationed at these TSA Pre-Check lines.

Is TSA Pre-Check worth it?

It seems to depend on your expectations. For a one-time fee of $85 for five years, it truly depends on how often you travel and the price tag. Most travel experts say that if you travel more than twice a year, it’s worth being part of the program. Though it may be slightly delayed at times, PreCheck lines still average in the single digits for security wait times. New identification technology is   being tested at some airports. This is expected to decrease security wait times in the future. If cost is still the hurdle for you, keep an eye open for occasional deals or incentives. For example, some credit cards with annual fees will reimburse the cost. Have more to say? Leave us a comment on Facebook.

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Travel Industry Travel News

New Security Screenings For All U.S.-Bound Flights

New airport security screening procedures were implemented late last week due to a new announcement from the TSA. Flights entering the United States will now require stricter passenger screening, for both U.S. citizens and foreign travelers. Only airports which serve as the last point of departure to the United States need to make these updates.  This will affect approximately 2,100 flights entering the U.S. every day.

This measure replaces earlier security rules, banning travelers from certain countries from bringing laptops or large electronics into the plane cabin with them. Each airline is adjusting to the new procedures in slightly different ways.  As details and procedures are likely to change, here’s what we know so far.

The bottom line

Most importantly, allow enough time in your schedule for interviews, questionnaires, or unexpected hang ups. Though the hope is that more extensive screenings will not increase wait times, most airlines are recommending to arrive at least three hours early to the gate. And of course, have your documentation and electronics readily available.

What new procedures travelers can expect

  • Stricter passenger screenings and interviews, even for American citizens
  • Inspection of personal electronic devices
  • Not all measures will be visible to the public, though passengers may see more bomb-sniffing dogs

How each airline is dealing with the new security screenings

  • Delta Air Lines– Travelers should arrive to the airport three hours before their flight. They should head straight to their gate where they may go through additional screening.
  • Air France– They’ve developed a questionnaire given to “100 percent” of the travelers. Have begun conducting these interviews at Paris Orly Airport. On Nov 2, the same procedures will be implemented at Charles de Gaulle Airport.
  • Emirates– Will be conducting ‘pre-screening interviews’ at their check-in counters for travelers flying out of Dubai. The interviews will be conducted at the boarding gates for transit and transfer fliers. Those flying through their headquarters, Dubai International Airport, should allow extra time to check in and board.
  • Cathy Pacific– Have suspended their self-drop baggage services. Those heading to the U.S. will instead be subject to a short security interview when checking in their luggage. Travelers without checked baggage will undergo a similar interview at the gate.
  • EgyptAir- Their new measures include more detailed searches of passengers, luggage and interviews.
  • Lufthansa Group (including Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Swiss, Eurowings and others)- Travelers may face short interviews at check-in, or documentation check at their gate.
  • Royal Jordanian– They will begin these new security procedures in mid-January, after being granted a request for delay in implementation.

We will continue to update this blog as more information and procedures are implemented. If you are a Christopherson client with additional questions, feel free to reach out to your account manager.

Christopherson Business Travel is a corporate travel management company with more than 60 years of experience. Known for our proprietary travel technology and dedicated account management, we’re always working to make business travel easier. Please contact us to learn more about our approach and corporate travel packages

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Travel Industry Travel News

Additional Security Measures for International Flights to the U.S.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today that flights arriving to the United States will undergo additional security measures. This is response to increased threats on commercial aviation as a whole. Starting later this week, passengers flying to the United States should expect additional security measures.

These security measures include:

  • Enhanced screening of travelers
  • Increased security screening of aircraft and passenger areas>
  • Heightened screening of electronic devices that are larger than a standard smartphone
  • Being prepared to remove these devices from protective cases or packaging if asked.
  • Using additional technology
  • Expanding canine security
  • Establishing additional pre-clearance locations

This heightened change effects 105 countries and approximately 280 airports that serve as the last points of departure to the United States. This affects 180 airlines, an average of 2,100 flights per day and 325,000 daily passengers on average. The DHS and TSA will be working with airline stakeholders over the next weeks and months to ensure these security protocols are fully implemented. Stakeholders that fail to adopt these requirements within certain time frames will run the risk of additional security restrictions being imposed.

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Travel Industry Travel News

TSA Precheck Lines Getting Longer?

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced an initiative to enroll twenty-five million new travelers in their Trusted Traveler programs by 2019. Such programs include TSA Precheck and Global Entry.
—To accomplish this goal, TSA is getting creative. Last year, they opened Precheck enrollment centers at locations like H&R Block and select Department of Motor Vehicles. During their Summer Tour, they set up pop-up enrollment centers at hotels across the country. They’re also now marketing Precheck at concerts, offering those who enroll access to concert Fast Passes via Precheck. Rumor is, TSA may soon be partnering with a major bank. They may also begin offering special pricing programs for the service. Select hotel and airline reward programs offer the option to use points to pay for the enrollment, while some credit card companies offer waivers to cover the cost.

According to Charlie Carroll, the vice president of Identity Services at TSA’s enrollment services partner MorphoTrust, 250,000 people enroll each month. While momentum is picking up with increased marketing, reaching twenty-five million in the next two and a half years may be an uphill climb.

How Does Increased Precheck Enrollment Affect Travelers

The real question is—how does this affect travelers? On a recent business trip, I got TSA Precheck status via random selection. It was a dream. I kept my shoes on and my laptop and bag of liquids stayed in the suitcase. I breezed through security, arriving at my gate much earlier than I anticipated. Needless to say, I enjoyed the elite status and ease of the service so much I considered enrolling and paying the $85 to become Precheck approved.

But let’s remember–the need for TSA Precheck rose from travelers’ frustration over long, slow security lines. Long, slow security lines are the result of travelers having to empty bags and practically de-robe to pass security. These requirements came in response to terrorism. TSA Precheck was then created as an elite service for frequent travelers. Eventually, preferred members of airlines, identified as “low risk” travelers, received access. Now, they’re actively marketing the service with no signs of limiting the number of people who want it.

From where I stand, it appears that they reduced the quality and speed of airport security services after 9/11. Now they’re charging us, the travelers, to get back the convenience of the faster, easier security lines we originally enjoyed. And with enrollment for the service growing rapidly, it seems unlikely that TSA Precheck will continue to be as fast, convenient, and elite as it has been.

Read these blogs next:

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Business Travel Travel Tips

When Are The Peak Hours For Airport Security Lines?

Airports across the country are seeing longer wait times in the TSA security lines recently, due to a deficit of TSA screening employees and an increase in travelers. The number of travelers are only expected to increase as well, as we move into the busier summer months. In the last few years, there has been a 10 percent decrease in employees, recently culminating in longer security wait times. Though Congress recently approved hiring more screening agents, it may take until the end of June for these 500 new employees to be hired and trained. Until then, airports and the TSA are recommending travelers to arrive two to three hours before their flights and avoid peak hours for flying.

So, when are these peak times for airports?

  • Weekends are the busiest travel days. This includes Fridays during the summer months.
  • Think of airports as similar to highways. They tend to be busiest on weekdays in the early morning and early afternoon, then again in early evening.
  • Tuesday and Wednesday are usually slower.
  • Mid-day is the slowest time all week.
  • Peak hours may differ based on city. For example, port cities like Miami see a burst midday on Saturdays as vacationers on cruise ships return and head to the airport.

On the day of your trip, investigate the current traffic at your local airport. The TSA website  lets you know of the current wait time at any airport in the U.S. Or try out the MiFlight app to stay updated on wait times.

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Business Travel

Getting Through Airport Security

tsaIn order to test TSA airport security systems, undercover agents will try to get through undetected with hidden threats. When it was revealed that 95% of the time TSA security screeners and/or devices failed to detect the agents’ hidden threats, Jeh Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security, began considering additional measures to increase safety.

But what does that mean for you as a traveler? More than likely, it potentially means longer lines at security check points. To avoid this, especially if you are a frequent traveler, we recommend you sign up for Global Entry or TSA Pre?™. There is no time like the present.

For more information on these programs visit CBP.gov or TSA.gov. For additional information on which airlines and airports offer TSA Pre?™ click here.

Related Posts

  1. How to Enroll in TSA Pre?™
  2. Global Entry: Experienced Business Travelers’ #1 Travel Tip
  3. TSA Pre?™: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
  4. How to Avoid Security Lines (or at least get through them faster)
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Business Travel Travel Industry

TSA Precheck: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

TSA Pre?™ comes on the heels of other pre-approved security organizations similar to Global Entry, NEXUS, and SENTRI. For those not familiar with TSA Pre?™, here is a quick overview:

What is TSA PreCheck?

For an $85 fee, a background check, and an interview, you have access to faster moving lines, and quicker security screening. There is no removal of belts, shoes, and lightweight jackets. Liquids and laptops stay in your carry-on bag. TSA Pre?™ began its program in December of 2013. Six months later, many wonder, “Is it worth the money?”

How I used TSA PreCheck

I used to travel to Canada quite a bit and signed up for a NEXUS card, background check and interview included. This allowed me to expedite my way through customs in a separate line. Because of my NEXUS card, I was automatically enrolled in the TSA Pre?™ program.

In the beginning, I was ecstatic over the ease and speed of going through the security lines. It was like having status with the TSA just like I had with my airline priority status. But soon, airlines began issuing random TSA Pre?™ clearance to random passengers, which may have been nice for the traveler receiving this random service, but not for the rest of us.

I found myself stuck behind people who still took off their jackets and shoes, and took out their laptop, and liquids. TSA agents would advise travelers to put their items back into their bags, and put their jackets back on. The lines were often slower because of the double duties of unpacking and repacking personal belongings. A couple of times, people said, “Wow, you were randomly chosen for TSA Pre?™–aren’t you lucky?” When in reality, I wanted to say, “I made my own luck by paying for this service.”

So back to my original question: Is it worth it? My opinion is yes!

The good: Most of the time, the TSA Pre?™ lines are faster than the regular lines. I have shortened my overall travel time knowing I can leave later from my home since the TSA line will be shorter.

The bad: There are inexperienced travelers in the TSA Pre?™ lines. If I need to wait for an inexperienced traveler, I figure they will soon learn the ropes and either sign up for this service on their own or know what to do the next time they are randomly chosen.

The ugly: The upcoming summer season is when travel is at its peak. It will be interesting to see if TSA will keep the Pre?™ lines moving quickly or if they will be used as overflow for the additional travelers. Either way, I will simply allow extra time just in case lines are longer than usual, and keep my fingers crossed I have a speedy security check.

For more information on the TSA Precheck program, you can visit their website at TSA.gov.

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Business Travel Travel Industry

Know Before You Go: TSA Regulations and Airport Security

It's always a good idea to check the TSA website before you pack.
It’s always a good idea to check the TSA website before you pack.

It was recently reported that yet another gun was found in a carry-on bag at the Salt Lake City International Airport. This was the 27th gun found by TSA screeners this year at that airport. In 2012, 20 guns were seized at that same airport.

Why the increase from 2012 to 2013? It seems the message isn’t reaching the right people. Take note: whether it was an innocent mistake or not, it is a crime to pack a gun in your carry-on bag. Those finding themselves in this predicament will be prosecuted.

It’s always a good idea to check the TSA rules for carry-on baggage (and even checked bags) before you head to the airport. Many items cannot be placed in your carry-on bag, but they can go in your checked bag. And there are some items you can’t pack in either bag–period.

With holiday travel fast approaching, and longer security lines that come with it, it’s best to check the TSA web site before you pack that snow globe and head off to grandma’s house. (By the way, a snow globe that appears to hold less than 3.4 ounces of water–about the size of a tennis ball–and can fit in your quart-size bag with your other small liquids, can be taken with you in your carry on.) You can read the entire list of prohibited items here.

It’s highly recommended that you check the list each time you travel since it can periodically change.

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Business Travel Travel Industry Travel Technology Travel Tips

New TSA App Great for Business Travelers: Check Security Wait Times Before You Go

Approximately 1.7 million travelers pass through the United States’ airports every day. That is a lot of people to keep up-to-date on the various TSA changes that take place on a regular basis.

In an effort to better-communicate these changes, the TSA has prepared the TSA Traveler’s Guide to ensure airline passengers have the answers they need to common security screening questions.

For busy business travelers on-the-go, TSA also created the “My TSA” mobile application for iPhone, Android, and other mobile web users. Features include airport status information, security wait times, search options for permitted and/or prohibiting packing items, weather, videos, and TSA regulation guides. I recently installed the app and although I will most likely not use all the features, I will certainly use it to check security wait times on my next business trip.

To download the native iOS and Android versions of the My TSA App visit iTunes or Google Play.

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Business Travel Travel Industry Travel Tips

TSA Carry-On Rules: A Helpful Reminder

TSA carry-on rules - reminders for business travelersMy husband, an inexperienced traveler, recently encountered a situation on his flight to Anchorage that got me thinking about what exactly is allowed in carry-on luggage. Granted, his was an innocent oversight, but the situation nearly caused him to miss his flight.

Did you know that having nine unsecured, improperly packed, and unclaimed bullets/ammunition in your possession is not allowed, and that having ten (a full magazine) will cause a “TSA delay” plus violations that can result in state and local prosecution as well as civil penalties of up to $2,000. Well, luckily my husband only had nine tucked away in the corner of his bag. They were quickly confiscated and he was still able to make it to his gate.

Ten years ago we all probably had the list of what is and isn’t allowed in carry-on luggage memorized, but with time we have a tendency to forget or become careless. The TSA provides a list of prohibited items that I found informative. For example, did you know that you can pack scissors in your carry-on luggage? As long as the blade is shorter than four inches they are allowed. Screwdrivers and other tools are also allowed if they are seven inches or less in length. Even ice-skates are allowed in your carryon luggage.

On the TSA website you can also refresh your memory of the 3-1-1 carry-on rules, which state that each passenger is allowed one 1 quart sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag with liquid containers not to exceed 3.4 ounce bottles.

Reviewing the TSA website to refresh your memory will not only make traveling a much better experience for you, but also for those behind you in the airport security lines.

And don’t forget to check the corners and pockets of all your luggage to eliminate any items that may cause delays at security check points.

Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry Travel Tips

TSA Carry-On Rules: A Helpful Reminder

TSA carry-on rules - reminders for business travelersMy husband, an inexperienced traveler, recently encountered a situation on his flight to Anchorage that got me thinking about what exactly is allowed in carry-on luggage. Granted, his was an innocent oversight, but the situation nearly caused him to miss his flight.

Did you know that having nine unsecured, improperly packed, and unclaimed bullets/ammunition in your possession is not allowed, and that having ten (a full magazine) will cause a “TSA delay” plus violations that can result in state and local prosecution as well as civil penalties of up to $2,000. Well, luckily my husband only had nine tucked away in the corner of his bag. They were quickly confiscated and he was still able to make it to his gate.

Ten years ago we all probably had the list of what is and isn’t allowed in carry-on luggage memorized, but with time we have a tendency to forget or become careless. The TSA provides a list of prohibited items that I found informative. For example, did you know that you can pack scissors in your carry-on luggage? As long as the blade is shorter than four inches they are allowed. Screwdrivers and other tools are also allowed if they are seven inches or less in length. Even ice-skates are allowed in your carryon luggage.

On the TSA website you can also refresh your memory of the 3-1-1 carry-on rules, which state that each passenger is allowed one 1 quart sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag with liquid containers not to exceed 3.4 ounce bottles.

Reviewing the TSA website to refresh your memory will not only make traveling a much better experience for you, but also for those behind you in the airport security lines.

And don’t forget to check the corners and pockets of all your luggage to eliminate any items that may cause delays at security check points.

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Travel News

TSA Pre?™ Program Comes to Salt Lake City, Minneapolis, LA, & JFK

Having participated in past lobbying efforts for a TSA trusted traveler program, I am thrilled to see one such program coming to my local airport.

The TSA Pre?™ pilot is aimed at enhancing the security experience by pre-screening individuals who volunteer information about themselves prior to flying in order to potentially expedite the travel experience.
In early 2012, participants in Delta Air Line’s frequent flyer program will be eligible for this expedited screening at the Salt Lake International airport. Once TSA determines a passenger’s eligibility, information will then be embedded in the bar-code of the boarding pass and security personnel will direct the traveler to the correct security line. Other airlines, including United, Continental, and US Airways, are expected to join within months.
So far, the pilot program has been successful in Dallas, Miami, Detroit, Atlanta, and Las Vegas. With the program now coming to Salt Lake City, I can already imagine a flash back to the 90s when could I keep my shoes and belt on and didn’t have to wrestle my luggage to remove my lap-top and zip-lock bag of liquids.
Janet Napolitano, secretary of Homeland Secretary, said the TSA’s Pre?™ program will expand by the end of 2012 to encompass 35 airports. “It’s part of a fundamental shift in how we approach aviation security,” Napolitano said. “Not all travelers are alike and they don’t all present the same risk.”
In addition to Salt Lake City, travelers in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Chicago, and New York City will also be included in this phase of the Pre?™ program.
Visit TSA.gov for full details.

Categories
Travel News

TSA Pre?™ Program Comes to Salt Lake City, Minneapolis, LA, & JFK

Having participated in past lobbying efforts for a TSA trusted traveler program, I am thrilled to see one such program coming to my local airport.

The TSA Pre?™ pilot is aimed at enhancing the security experience by pre-screening individuals who volunteer information about themselves prior to flying in order to potentially expedite the travel experience.
In early 2012, participants in Delta Air Line’s frequent flyer program will be eligible for this expedited screening at the Salt Lake International airport. Once TSA determines a passenger’s eligibility, information will then be embedded in the bar-code of the boarding pass and security personnel will direct the traveler to the correct security line. Other airlines, including United, Continental, and US Airways, are expected to join within months.
So far, the pilot program has been successful in Dallas, Miami, Detroit, Atlanta, and Las Vegas. With the program now coming to Salt Lake City, I can already imagine a flash back to the 90s when could I keep my shoes and belt on and didn’t have to wrestle my luggage to remove my lap-top and zip-lock bag of liquids.
Janet Napolitano, secretary of Homeland Secretary, said the TSA’s Pre?™ program will expand by the end of 2012 to encompass 35 airports. “It’s part of a fundamental shift in how we approach aviation security,” Napolitano said. “Not all travelers are alike and they don’t all present the same risk.”
In addition to Salt Lake City, travelers in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Chicago, and New York City will also be included in this phase of the Pre?™ program.
Visit TSA.gov for full details.

Categories
Travel News Travel Technology

Clear is Back. Is it Secure?

Remember Clear?  The little biometric card that helped you speed through airport security?  
In June 2009 the original Clear closed its doors and left 200,000 traveling members stranded.  Recently Clear was purchased and relaunched by Caryn Seidman-Becker, Chairman & CEO and Ken Cornick, President & CFO.  They have recruited team members with resumes of success in many different areas, including the travel and airline industry. 
Currently Clear is available in the Orlando International Airport and the Denver International Airport, with more to come.  This team of experts is honoring memberships purchased prior to their venture and are offering new memberships and corporate programs. This new ownership and team appear to be committed to making your travel experience pleasurable, safe and secure.  To learn more about Clear you can visit their website at www.clearme.com.

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Travel News

Do I make myself Clear? Not!

Back in 2008, a new cool way to pass through security lines for frequent business travelers that do not have as much time as others was introduced at 18 selected airports. Clear, a company founded by Verified Identity Pass just announced this week that they would be closing up shop and would not be able to refund travelers who had prepaid or recently renewed their subsciption. That went over like a long tailed cat in a room full of rockers!
From the article written by Thomas Frank,  a statement on Verified’s website said the company “had been unable to negotiate an agreement with its senior creditor to continue operations.” There was no information about whether enrollees would get refunds.
TSA’s express security grounded
This was supposed to be the best thing out there for those who were traveling on a constant basis and needing to avoid long lines. The fee was a little steep, (around $200 annually) but heck, I pay $50 a month for the Carpool lane on I-15. Maybe if Clear would have monitored those who enter the carpool lane illegally, then they might still be in business.
We have become a society of quickness and ease. I guess for now our best option out there until someone comes out with a better plan than that of Clear, is to fly enough miles that you can access the medallion lines or travel with someone that does have that elite status…..You could always jump the lines like the car that did in front of me today!