Registration opens for `fast-pass' system at San Jose airport

Mineta San Jose International Airport is one of the first five airports that will provide the service provided by Clear, which won the contract here and at airports in Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Orlando, Fla. The service is also available at Terminal 7 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, which serves British Airways, United Airlines and a handful of other carriers.

By next year, Clear and its competitors are likely to serve 25 of the nation's biggest airports, predicted Clear Chief Executive Steven Brill.

Even though travelers can start registering today, it will be a while before they can actually use the system to speed up their times through security in San Jose.

First, Clear must build kiosks at the airport where applicants can pop in to provide two forms of government identification and to record an image of their eye and get fingerprinted. Clear also must build the special lanes -- targeted for completion in November.

Starting today, though, travelers can get the paperwork rolling on the application process, which took a Mercury News editor five minutes to complete online at The TSA can then begin a background check on applicants.

Those who make the cut will owe an $80 annual fee to Clear, plus an annual TSA processing fee that is expected to cost $27 to $30, Clear said. Corporate rates are available, and Clear is teaming up with Hyatt Hotels and others who might offer special deals to their customers.

Currently, 27,000 members in Clear's pilot program in Orlando step up to the express lane and insert their pass into an ATM-like machine that compares the data encoded on their card to their ``biometrics'' -- their fingerprints and iris data.

Clear also is experimenting with a kiosk that essentially sniffs their fingers and shoes for traces of explosives while they stand on the mat to insert the card to verify their identity. Meanwhile, a concierge will deliver a bin for carry-on luggage and other items for Transportation Security Administration screeners to X-ray.

Travelers in Orlando typically spend one to four minutes to clear through security, Brill said. That compares with one minute to an hour to pass through the normal security lines, he said.

``The question is, you don't know whether it will be one minute or one hour, and you have to plan for the worst case,'' Brill said. ``It's providing a more predictable experience.''

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