business news in context, analysis with attitude

CLEAR, the company begun as a way of creating a system of registered travelers that would make it easier to get through airport security lines, reportedly has gone out of business.

According to a notice on the company’s website that was delivered to subscribers, parent company Verified Identity Pass was “unable to negotiate an agreement with its senior creditor to continue operations.”

According to the Wall Street Journal story this morning, CLEAR only managed to attract 165,00 customers, in part because the government’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA) never was comfortable with the notion that even pre-screened travelers who had been put through a security check could be allowed to bypass any of the standard screening procedures; in the end, the 20 US airports with CLEAR lanes really only allowed people to bypass long lines.
KC's View:
As one of those 165,000 CLEAR members, I can tell you that in the airports where the system was in place, it was worth every penny. And it strikes me as a real shame that the government not only didn’t get comfortable with CLEAR-like systems, but didn’t embrace the concept and find ways to make it work – especially for the business travelers who are on the road constantly.

Maybe we can blame the failure on bureaucracy, and maybe on the economy. But ultimately it strikes me as a failure of imagination, a failure to embrace innovation. And that’s a failure that can be found in too many organizations.