Global Entry: The Sequel - How it Really Works

A few months ago, I wrote about the process for getting Global Entry.  At the time, everything I knew about how it worked was all in the abstract.  I wasn't going to use it until Elias and I came back from Europe in the summer.

So's what I actually know about Global Entry.  And your mileage may vary depending on the airport and time of day and such, so feel free to take this all with a grain of salt...

Leaving on a jet plane - TSA Pre Check

Get ready to keep your shoes and belt on.  Scarves and light jackets can stay on as well.  The bag of three ounce liquids you carefully packed...these can stay inside your bag, along with your laptop.  Both times I went through security, the line to get through the pre check was longer than the American Airline's "status" lines (a big deal as I'm one to gain and lose status year by year - and that I was traveling with someone who currently had Gold).  But remember what I said about shoes.  This is a big, hairy deal.  It doesn't matter if you have to wait a little bit longer in this part of the line.  You don't have to take your shoes off.  You don't have to take crap out of your bag.  I'll personally wait in a longer line for this.

And really, this just goes to show how the Pre Check process is appealing to folks.  There are a lot more yahoos using this service these days.  For good reason.

In DFW, the line we were closest to when leaving the international arrival area did not have a Pre Check area.  So I had to traipse across the ticketing area to another security gate.  Meh.  I wasn't in a hurry.  But if I was, it might not be great.

Also an FYI, in Global Entry, you were given a plastic ID card.  You can use this as identification in this step of the process instead of your Drivers License or Passport.  I didn't this time, but I did ask the question for the future.

Coming Home - Global Entry Step #1: Immigration

We left the airplane at 7a.  And of course, this was pretty darn early.  So the line for immigration was not super long.  Doesn't matter.  I walked up to a bright blue carpet (kind of like the red carpet at the Oscars) and immediately started typing on an open kiosk.  

Enter your passport, face down on the left hand side of the machine.  It will recognize the passport and your information will come up.  The government knows you are on this plane.  Though as Adele said once, "the government always knows when you're traveling anyway."  Whatever.

Once your information comes up, the screen will ask you the same questions on the front of the customs form. Answer honestly.  Obviously.  I always get stuck on the food question.  Especially since all of the food questions were combined on one question.  I did not bring back meats or fruits or vegetables.  But I did bring back dulce de leche and wine.  So how do I answer??  Yes, I guess. 

The kiosk has a camera, which takes your picture.  Then, a paper spits out and you walk away to get your luggage.

Side note - I was Googling pictures of the kiosk to throw into this entry since you're not supposed to take pictures in this part of the airport.  Did you know that people are actually taking pictures of their Global Entry card and putting them on the internets??  Which then made me wonder, and yes...people are also putting their passport information in picture form on the web.  Call me a cynical person, but...nope.

Coming Home - Global Entry Step #2: Customs

We were reunited with the luggage in Dallas, even though this was not our final destination.  This is normal when flying internationally.  Adele and I walked to the Customs area and were separated again.  There is a Global Entry for Customs too.  I did not realize this was a thing as well.

I handed my computer generated sheet to the officer.  He asked if I had any food in my luggage.  Yep.  Dulce de leche and three bottles of wine (which I assumed were still intact as wine was not seeping through my luggage at this point.  Yay!!).  I was waived through and my Global Entry journey was over.

As I rechecked my luggage and I waited for Adele, I may have saved myself five minutes on this particular trip.  It was early in the morning.  Probably the first international flight of the day.  But this was a great dry run for future trips.  And now I know how Global Entry works for when Elias and I travel next month.  This will be an excellent service for anyone with short layovers.  Or for people too impatient for long lines.  Or for people who want to quickly get back home.  Which...probably covers everyone.


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