Next week I will be flying to Manila. I’ll only be gone for a week, but because it’s so far there are lots of details to figure out. Entertainment for the 50 hours of travel, packing for the tropical climate, travel logistics, plus of course my actual work stuff.
The last time I flew home from Manila I waited in the customs line at DFW for close to two hours, then in the security line for another 45 minutes. If my flight hadn’t been delayed (and I hadn’t run like crazy) I totally would have missed it. Every time I’ve gone through customs I’ve looked enviously at the people strolling up to the Global Entry kiosk and zipping through the whole customs ordeal in just a few minutes. This last trip, combined with the fact that my home airport now has TSA Pre-Check, convinced me that it was finally time to apply for Global Entry.
Unfortunately the application was a little trickier than I expected because—not exactly a shocker—you need your passport number to apply, and my passport was lost in a box for a few weeks after the move. However, once the Home Warrior found it (hooray!) the application itself only took about 15 minutes. I received conditional approval the next day, and was able to schedule my interview. However, the two locations within 100 miles of my house didn’t have any openings until January! Bummer. So I ended up driving to Houston Inter-Continental Airport.
The office (lower level of Terminal E) was super easy to find. My drive didn’t take as long as I expected so I got there about 30 minutes early. I don’t know what I was expecting—maybe something super crowded with long lines and obnoxious delays? But this office was very efficient and well-run. An office immediately directed me and a few other people to a small room to watch a video, which basically said to follow the law or you’ll get kicked out. Fair enough. Then I got called back for my interview. The nice man asked me basically all the same questions from the online application, then took my picture and fingerprints. The whole thing took about 20 minutes, and I was done before my original appointment time. I got my approval letter the next day!
Overall, the process was very easy. For $100, you get Global Entry and TSA Pre-check for five years, which is a steal IMO. If you fly regularly, it is a great deal and I highly recommend it. I am excited to fly tomorrow and go through the short TSA Pre-check line!
Readers, what have your experiences with Global Entry been?