Triangle Trip

Tag: lax security

Go to LAX Terminal 6 instead of Terminal 7 for your next United flight

by on May.06, 2009, under Airlines, Business Travel

United Airlines now operate out of Los Angeles International Airport’s (LAX) Terminals 6, 7, and 8. Following my previous post on how to get quickly get through LAX security in Terminal 7, this post gives you two more options should the LAX Terminal 7 garage security checkpoint is closed for whatever reason or becomes too crowded.

Option 1 – Use United Premier Line in Terminal 6:  United has their Premier check-in counters and security line in Terminal 6. Unlike LAX Terminal 7 (or other airports), Terminal 6’s security checkpoint does not have a pre-screener to look at your ID or re-validate that you are a United Premier member. If you walk into Terminal 6 and make an immediate left, you will see the United Premier security line. This line is generally empty and connects you to the normal Terminal 7 main security line. However, the Terminal 6 security line is much shorter as it does not wrap around like Terminal 7’s main line. If you do see a pre-screener and he/she does not let you go through, just tell him/her that you were dropped off by the rental car bus and have to catch the flight that’s in an hour. If that fails, go to Option 2.

Option 2 – use LAX Terminal 6’s TSA security line to get to Terminals 7 and 8:  This option will require some walking. Terminal 6’s normal TSA security is to the right of United Premier check-in. LAX Terminal 6 does not have many big airlines (AirTran, Continental, Spirit, Virgin America, etc.) so the security lines are generally shorter than Terminal 7. After you have cleared the Terminal 6 security line, make a left and walk through a tunnel that connects you to Terminal 7.

For your convenience, below is a map of LAX highlighting the United Terminals. I have labeled locations for Options #1 and #2 in red.

LAX United Terminal Map

LAX United Terminal Map

I have tried both options and both worked like a charm. I was at LAX at 3:20PM to catch a 4PM flight and there was no pre-screener at the United Premier security line in Terminal 6. I bypassed the normal Terminal 7 pre-screening and the long wrap around line. I have also tried go through security at Terminal 6 and walking back to Terminal 7. The entire process (clearing security to walking to the gate) took less than 15 minutes as no one uses the TSA security lines in Terminal 6.

I am still waiting for Clear to show up at the world’s 6th busiest airport. Here’s a link to my previous post regarding this topic. I would also like to give credit to Statusmonger for telling me about the United Terminal 6 secret.

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(Fly) Clear needs to address the following issues to stay in business

by on Mar.04, 2009, under Business Travel, Travel Partners

I have been using (Fly) Clear since mid-January 2009. My Clear membership has saved me on a couple of last minute to the airport, high blood pressure runs to the gate. The ability to skip the amateurs at the TSA security line is wonderful but it is not worth $199 per year. I was fortunate enough to get this year’s membership for free thanks to Starwood. Here are the reason why $199 is not worth it for any traveler:

1.  Clear is not available in major cities/airports – take a look at this list. How can Clear expect me or anyone to invest in them if they are not in the US’s #2, #3 and #4 cities. As a frequent commuter in and out of LAX, Clear is no where to be found. I have seen “coming soon” signs forever. Below is the latest screenshot from Clear’s website stating it will be at LAX by winter 2009.

picture-3

Clear is also not in Chicago or Houston or Dallas which are huge hubs. I can use Clear to get into Candlestick Park but I cannot use it to get through LAX, ORD or DFW security. If I may also add that LAX TSA checkpoint is the worst in the nation. LAX security has limited space available to unpack your personal items before the checkpoint and repack your items after screening. LAX is also a top 5 worst airport in the US.

2.  Clear registration requires me to provide all sorts of personal data in exchange for skipping a line. Who are these people fooling? When I use Clear, the agent still requires me to show him/her my Clear ID and match me up against my fingerprint (for some, their retina). What’s the point of giving Clear my fingerprint when I have to provide an ID. Shouldn’t my fingerprint be tied to my ID?

3.  When you have airline status, skipping the TSA security line does not really help you much. The $199 membership fee is just too steep for business travelers with status. $199 a year definitely does not make sense for the casual travel. However, if Clear partners with the airlines to offer the following benefits to travelers without status: priority boarding, waiving baggage fee or getting a slightly better seat. Now that is a true value proposition. $199 per year to skip someone once awhile is just not worth it.

4.  Increase customer loyalty to gain adoption. I have not seen any referral programs or benefits for me to renew my membership. After what I have pointed out so far, I see no incentive for me to renew my membership when it ends this December.

We have just provided a month worth of free consulting to the Clear team via this post. I look forward to hearing from Clear management as this post can potentially save their company and jobs.

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