Vegas’ McCarran airport to add fee-based biometric security screening

Las Vegas
Biometric scanners, such as this one at Denver International Airport, allow travelers to use their fingerprints and irises - instead of photo IDs - at security checkpoints.

In mid-August, Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport will begin allowing travelers to identify themselves using the latest biometric screening — for a fee.

McCarran will become the 10th U.S. airport — none so far in Southern California — to let passengers use their thumbprints and irises to establish identity for security purposes. The biometric scanners are in use at San Francisco and San Jose airports and at both Houston airports as well as Dallas and San Antonio in Texas.

High-tech kiosks from a company called Clear allow participants, for a $179 annual fee, to leave their driver’s licenses and passports tucked away. A 30-second video shows how it works.

You can begin the enrollment process by visiting this page; you would need to provide your fingerprints, so if you’re a Southern California resident, you may want to wait.


Customers do not have to be enrolled in the expedited security screening programs, offered for $85 for five years through the Transportation Security Administration‘s Precheck program and for $100 for five years through U.S Customs and Border Protection’s Global Entry program, which also includes expedited reentry through U.S. Customs. (Some airline frequent-flier programs also offer the fast-through screening program, but that has been by invitation.)

Without that security clearance, Clear participants will need to follow standard screening procedures.

The technology, on average, will get participants through the passenger identification process in less than five minutes, a news release claims, adding that “Clear anticipates launching dedicated members-only security lanes and enrollment kiosks in three of McCarran’s checkpoints.”

The TSA’s website notes that Pre-Check is now in use at 118 airports locations. Sun Country airlines has joined Air Canada, Alaska, American, Delta, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Southwest, United, US Airways and Virgin America as airlines that are part of the PreCheck programs.


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