Provided you haven’t committed crimes, or aren’t planning to commit crimes, signing up for Global Entry should be your next highest priority.
You know those few times you luck out and get TSA Pre Check when traveling? Well those times will be every time with Global Entry.
And the thing is, the process is so ridiculously easy that I’m a little mad at me for not doing it sooner.
I started the process in December, which consisted of paying $100 and answering a slew of questions—who I am, where I live, everywhere I’ve traveled in the last five years, am I a killer, etc. Then, I imagine, began my “rigorous background check” by the Department of Homeland Security (which sounds scary, but you know they already know everything they want to know about you anyway). The most difficult part of the process was waiting for my interview appointment. So many people are trying to tap this travel opportunity that the next available appointment was two months out. (U.S. citizens or permanent residents, plus citizens of Colombia, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Panama, Singapore, South Korea and Mexico are eligible).
So on Feb. 14 (Happy Valentine’s Day to me!) I went to the nearest customs office, handed over my passport and driver’s license, watched a three minute video on how to use the Global Entry kiosk, reconfirmed I wasn’t a criminal, took a picture, scanned all of my fingers on both hands, and went on my way. I was in and out of the office for my “interview” in less than 10 minutes. Global Entry effective immediately.
To be honest, I couldn’t believe the whole process was that simple. And then you’re in.
It’s like a secret travelers club that all the cool kids are a part of. Or at least that’s what it feels like when you breeze through the nearly no line for security with TSA Pre Check and as you watch others tiptoe across the dirty airport floor barefoot while your feet are still safely clean inside your shoes, and as you glance back at the non “in” crowd still standing in traffic to get to or through security. No coat off, no shoes off, no laptop out, no toiletry baggy. It’s as red carpet as travel gets for us non rich types.
When you’re coming back into the US after some international jaunt (or even when you’re traveling domestically), you can ignore the paperwork the flight attendants are passing out because you don’t have to complete it. You can skip past the long lines at customs and go to the nearly always available Global Entry kiosks, tap to answer the questions, scan your finger prints and be about your life. They say travel used to be glamorous back in the PanAm days when flights always came with food, hostesses were dressed to the nines and goodie bags with socks and toothbrushes were a staple (even I remember this). And while airlines are getting cheaper by the day, making you starve for longer stretches lest you fork over more money for crappy food, trying to appease you with half full bags of Doritos, Global Entry adds at least a touch of the glamour back to travel.
Here’s where you start the process of upgrading your travel life.
Try it. You’ll like it.