The demise of Clear security lanes at airports has been much discussed, which is precisely why I’ve remained quiet about it.
Of course, it really shouldn’t surprise anyone. The original promise was that Clear would mean basically skipping security (‘trusted traveler’) but the TSA didn’t go forward with that, and it just meant skipping lines (‘reigstered traveler’). But Clear was only in about 20 airports, most of which had elite security lines as well. The market for paying to skip lines was frequent business travelers who essentially got the same thing free from the airlines. In spite of several free trial offers for Clear I never had a desire to go through their process and sign up, it offered virtually no incremental benefit to me.
The one piece of the story that does strike me as interesting is: what about those folks who signed up for Clear with the promise of frequent flyer bonuses? Clear partnered with Delta, hadn’t in all cases yet awarded the bonuses (and thus purchased the miles from Delta).
Delta also offered frequent flier miles for new Clear customers. The Atlanta-based carrier says it will honor those miles. “We are working to obtain the full list of CLEAR members who enrolled with SkyMiles mileage offers and will be contacting them in the coming days,” Delta says.
Good move, Delta. Your customers don’t distinguish between who does and doesn’t buy and award the miles. They see a Delta-marketed offer, advetised in a Delta e-newsletter, and put their trust in Delta. When customers take advantage of the offer, they expect their Delta miles. If customers get burned and don’t receive the miles, it’s Delta goodwill that suffers — not the goodwill of defunct Clear.
When you enter partnerships, and a partner fails, sometimes you have to eat a little something for your own good. Fortunately in this case it appears that Delta recognizes that.