I flew home last night from a 10-day business trip in the Caribbean. My day started around 6:30 a.m. on Antigua, and by the time I walked into the immigration area at Newark airport, it was nearly 7 p.m. I was tired. I was weary. The line to clear into the United States was at least a half-hour long.
With a quick glance at all of the passengers waiting patiently for their turns, I pulled out my Passport and zoomed past them. I’m a newly fingerprinted member of the Global Entry Trusted Traveler system, and yesterday was my first chance to see whether the hype—about shorter waiting times upon arrival—was actually true.
There was not a single person in front of me at the Global Entry kiosk. I walked right up, inserted my Passport, let the machine scan my fingerprints and face, answered a couple of questions about what I was carrying into the country, and printed out my receipt. That was it. Literally three minutes, max. As I turned to collect my baggage, I caught a glimpse of the people from my flight staring at me. They were as awestruck as I was. And then, I was gone.
What a fantastic new program. And at a cost of $100 for five years, it’s a steal for anyone like me who regularly travels outside the United States. I highly recommend going to the enrollment page if you fit the same profile.