By now, the cat’s out of the bag; everyone knows about Global Entry and it’s many benefits. I’ve seen lots of back and forth regarding whether or not Global Entry is still worth getting. Clear and Mobile Passport seem to be the new up and comers, but it’s only a matter of time before those become saturated as well. So, is Global Entry still worth it? Keep reading to find out my take on the topic.
Shorter Wait Times for TSA
No matter which way you cut it, Global Entry (GE) in general is going to cut down your time spent at the airport. GE also provides you with TSA Pre-Check which allows you to go through a less intense security line at the airport. Since getting GE last year, I can arrive to my home airport (SNA) 35 minutes before takeoff and still be early. Even at larger airports such as LAX, while the TSA Pre-Check line is longer than it used to be, it still cuts down on wait time. Some people argue the TSA Pre-Check line can get longer than normal security. This is true. But, wouldn’t you rather have the choice of two lines as opposed to taking your chances and hoping the normal security line happens to be shorter? It’s a no-brainer for me. GE is a win in this category.
Less Hassle While Going Through TSA
This is the real reason I love access to TSA Pre-Check. I’m not the biggest fan of waiting in lines, but the real kicker always came when I had to take my shoes off, take my computer out, and take my liquids out. A few years ago I took a trip to New York. Like a dummy, I had decided to wear my very large over the knee boots because they wouldn’t fit in my carry-on. I was absolutely mortified when I was going through standard security and couldn’t get my boots off. After a few minutes of pulling and tugging, my sister finally managed to help me get them off. I looked behind me and saw all the angry faces of people I was holding up (yes, I was THAT girl). Needless to say, TSA Pre-Check has been a lifesaver. Now I can wear whatever shoes I want and not worry about struggling to get them off or rushing to put them back on. It’s also nice not needing to take out all electronics and liquids. One of the most anxiety inducing parts of airport security is attempting to repack your bag and get your shoes on before you need to get out of the way. GE is a win here, again.
Customs is Quick
You know how people always say they HATE Customs? That’s not a thing with GE. My home international airport is LAX. Every time I’ve flown into LAX from an international flight, it’s been a breeze. Walk up to the kiosk, scan my passport, and I’m through. No need to even talk to anyone! I’ll admit, I’m a big antisocial after getting off long plane rides, so this is a big plus in my book. While this benefit may not apply if you don’t travel internationally, if you do, it’s a no brainer. Quick customs has allowed us to do weekend trips to Mexico, and not worry about our Sunday being ruined while we wait 2 hours to go through Customs. GE wins again.
If you have a travel credit card, check your benefits. Most travel cards give you a $100 credit to cover the cost of Global Entry. Global entry is good for five years. So, if it’s free and there’s even a small chance you may use it over the course of five years why wouldn’t you do it? This is the one category where GE isn’t always a win. If you’re not a big traveler and on a budget, $100 may be a deterrent. When you’re only traveling once or twice a years you may prefer to save $100 and brave the lines. But, if you’re traveling on average five to six times a year I’d still say it’s work the $100, especially if you’re traveling internationally. If you haven’t already, this would be the perfect time to look into the plethora of travel credit cards. You’re spending money anyways, might as well get some benefit for it!
Some people may feel having to drive to the nearest interview location isn’t worth their time. But, if your credit card covers the cost, you plan on traveling even once over the next five years and your home airport offers either TSA Pre-check benefits or Global Entry benefits, it’s 100% worth it. For those of us frequent travelers we know how much long wait times at the airport can ruin a trip. If you have a chance at lessening those waits, why wouldn’t you? Even though GE and TSA Pre-Check lines are longer than they used to be, I still believe the program serves it’s function of lessening time spent at the airport. Overall, Global Entry is worth the process it takes to attain. It has been an invaluable asset for me over the past couple of years.