GLOBAL ENTRY, OR HOW TO TRAVEL WITH REDUCED STRESS
Traveling is part of our lives as professionals, and as much as we all love traveling to new and exciting locations, doing it with equipment proves to be quite stressing. If you are based in the USA or have worked here, you know we have pretty tight security controls; not only lines can be really long, but you also have to use several trays to separate your laptop, tablet, cellphone and the rest of your belongings. Now, if you are traveling with rolls of film and film cameras, get ready for more after you request the manual inspection. However, there is a way to reduce stress, get past security fast and enjoy a little bit the process
“ It wasn’t until 2016, coming back from a job in L.A. , that I completely understood the importance of programs like this.”
I had already heard of the Global Entry Program, just after researching about the TSA-Pre program. I didn’t pay much attention as I thought it wouldn’t help much and that I could keep paying the fee with the airline I was traveling, to avoid long lines. It was just until 2016, trying to come back from L.A. after a job, that I completely understood the meaning of programs like this.
I was in Los Angeles for an Advertising Production and as usual, I do my check-in the day or night before my flight to save time, so the only thing left is check-in any bags I’m traveling with. On this particular occasion, I couldn’t do it through my laptop or cellphone because the airline website didn’t seem to be working. Next morning I tried again with no success. I have to annotate that on that particular day, we woke up to the news of the Belgium attacks, and for some reason I didn’t get it; we were going to have issues at the airport due to security.
To make a long story short, I could never do the check-in; even at the airport machines, the system just didn’t work. My odyssey started right there, and between customer service, security and the boarding counter I lost three flights. I barely made it to Miami and couldn’t afford not to, since I was traveling to New York the very next day.
Lesson learned, I needed some help and these programs could do it. There are different programs, TSA-Pre being the most basic and probably the one that the general public recognizes the most. There’s one between USA-Canada travelers and the one I enrolled, Global Entry.
So how has Global Entry benefited my travel?
Just to begin, the program includes TSA-Pre at no extra cost. When you apply, part of the process is an in-person interview and you are cleared as a pre-screened traveler; you have your unique known traveler number. When you go through security and you mention you are part of Global Entry, you go through a different lane, you have priority to be processed, you don’t have to take your belt or shoes off, you don’t have to go through the screening machine. Basically all your stress is gone, at least mine was reduced 90%.
On top of that, when you get back in the Country, you don’t have to make those infinite lines at immigration. There’s a special lane that takes you to some kiosks, there you can scan your passport, scan your Global Entry ID or just use your fingerprints, you follow the instructions on the screen and you’re on your way in less than 10 minutes.
One of the preconceptions that I had, is that it probably was too expensive. WRONG! The application is $100 and it lasts for 5 years, so you don’t have to be a genius to understand it is the same as paying $20 a year, for something that does such a benefit to your traveling, it is a no brainer.
I am one of those who tries to make things simple, specially when you are traveling with so many things and running into so many situations that will get out of your control. Anything that can make the process simpler is welcomed. In this case it helps my business, and makes me more efficient when losing a flight could mean a lot of costs for the production, plus time lost.