Two More Reasons I Will Not Pay For Global Entry or TSA Pre✓

Prior to Tuesday, September 11, 2001, virtually all passengers at virtually all airports in the United States were able to pass through security checkpoints with their shoes on; with whatever amount of liquids they wanted to carry in their bags which they carry aboard airplanes with them; and they were able to pass through a metal detector instead of a body scanner.

Two More Reasons I Will Not Pay For Global Entry or TSA Pre✓

Transportation Security Administration airport checkpoint Atlanta

Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

In order to enjoy a similar experience at an airport security checkpoint in the United States these days, you are required to complete a two-step application process — both via the Internet and by attending an interview in person — and pay a fee of $85.00 in order to enroll for five years in the TSA Pre✓ Program of the Transportation Security Administration; and that fee cannot be refunded once paid. The fee works out to $17.00 per year.

All travelers are required to be processed by the personnel of Customs and Border Protection when arriving from outside of the United States — but effective as of Friday, June 6, 2008, one can pay an application fee of $100.00 to be pre-approved for a trusted traveler program known as Global Entry to bypass the long lines and speed through the process. The application fee is only to be paid one time.

Upon first glance, one would wonder why anyone who travels would not willfully join and pay for one or both of these trusted traveler programs — but I still refuse to pay for either the Global Entry or TSA Pre✓ programs for reasons cited later in this article.

Two additional reasons why I refuse to pay for either the Global Entry or TSA Pre✓ programs are based on experiences.

Reason 1: The TSA Pre✓ Line Closes at Inopportune Times

airport security checkpoint

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

Passengers who travel from outside of the United States and arrive at Miami International Airport must go through customs and a full screening process — and this can create a scene of chaos when a large bank of flights conclude at approximately the same time.

When I arrived at Miami International Airport from South America recently, I was able to be processed through a kiosk at customs with no wait and no problem without the benefit of being a member of Global Entry. Once finished, I was given a slip of paper with my image on it which designated me as eligible for TSA Pre✓, for which I have never paid.

The lines were long at the scanners which screen passengers at the security checkpoint; but the TSA Pre✓ line was clearly the shortest, with a wait of 30 minutes less than the regular line which snaked its way around the stanchions and ribbon barriers.

Suddenly, a woman who is an agent of the Transportation Security Administration started directing people out of the TSA Pre✓ line and into the regular line.

“Why are we being transferred out of the Pre✓ line?”, one passenger asked.

“Because the Pre✓ line is closing”, she replied. The time was approximately 8:00 in the evening on a Saturday night; and lines were long. More personnel and lines were needed at this point, not fewer.

Once the Transportation Security Administration agent left, some frustrated passengers sneaked back into the TSA Pre✓ line by undoing one of the ribbons. The Transportation Security Administration agent eventually returned, noticed the undone ribbon and reattached it in front of a man who was also attempting to sneak back into the TSA Pre✓ line.

“Why aren’t you letting me back in the line?!?” asked the exasperated passenger. “I am eligible for Pre✓. Look.” He waved his boarding pass. “See?!?”

“The Pre✓ line is closed” is what the Transportation Security Administration agent replied without even looking at him, her back towards him.

“This is bulls**t!” was his response.

“Whatever.”

I can only imagine what the people who paid for the privilege of the TSA Pre✓ program must have thought when they were not even permitted to use the dedicated line. Could that night have been an anomaly in which most other times, the area is as empty as a ghost town which would warrant the line being closed at 8:00 in the evening?

While that is possible, I highly doubt that for some reason.

Reason 2: Global Entry Members are Not Immune From SSSS Selection

A friend of mine who is 54 years old purchased a round-trip ticket this past March on Singapore Airlines from Newark to Bali with a very short connection in Singapore on both the outbound and return legs.

Prior to his trip, he applied for Global Entry, which included a mandatory interview in person at the airport conducted by agents of the Transportation Security Administration. He answered all various exploratory questions pertaining to his past and also confirmed that he has never been convicted of a crime of any kind. He was successfully granted trusted traveler status and eventually received his Global Entry card.

Additionally, he has been a member of the TSA Pre✓ program for years, so this process was familiar to him.

For the return trip on which both flight segments were operated by Singapore Airlines, he was granted an upgrade to a seat in the business class cabin aboard the airplane on the flight from Bali to Singapore; and he was seated in the premium economy class cabin aboard the Airbus A350-900ULR airplane on the flight from Singapore to Newark…

Source: Anonymous. Photograph used with permission.

…but when he checked in for his flight from Bali to Singapore and received his boarding passes for both legs of the return trip, he immediately noticed the dreaded SSSS designation on his boarding pass for the leg from Singapore to Newark. SSSS are the initials for Secondary Security Screening Selection which will appear on your boarding pass when you have been selected by the Secure Flight system of the Transportation Security Administration for “enhanced security screening” at the security checkpoint of an airport.

“This instantly caused me angst”, he said to me. “Why was I selected for increased security? Didn’t I recently go through a thorough background check by US authorities prior to this trip? Hadn’t I worked 13 years with Delta Air Lines in Atlanta with access to Delta’s cockpits as an approved jumpseat rider and access to the ramps at US airports? Didn’t I work with the FAA to bring the Aviation Safety Action Program to Delta? Did this count for nothing? Shouldn’t this have deeply downgraded me to a virtually zero threat to aviation security? Surely, there must have been at least one passenger on that plane whose background was not as exculpatory as mine.”

As he has never received anything more than a speeding ticket in his lifetime, he wondered why he was identified out of all of the passengers on the flight from Singapore to the United States as a heightened security threat warranting additional scrutiny. “I was immediately agitated and my agitation escalated to fury and indignation”, he continued. “Hundreds of passengers were on my flight. Doubtless that many/most were not US citizens. And yet I was selected for additional screening. A US citizen with zero criminal history AND so-called Trusted Traveler status.  Yet I was ‘randomly’ selected for additional security measures.”

He had a number of thoughts and concerns which went through his mind: what if his baggage picked up some trace of an illicit substance while in the vehicle that transported him to the airport? What if his baggage picked up some trace of some illegal agent while going through baggage handling? Was he going to be sent to an infamous Singapore prison? What if something came up during the SSSS search and he missed his connection in Singapore, whose duration was slightly greater than one hour? “I did some quick research online and read stories of extensive additional body and carry-on searches because of the dreaded SSSS.”

He was agitated when he approached the security checkpoint at Singapore Changi Airport. “I was expecting a full body cavity search further validated because of my recent hip replacement that would surely set off any type of increased body scanning. I breezed through the magnetometer with no problem. Of course, my boarding pass was identified and a supplemental search was initiated.”

Source: Anonymous. Photograph used with permission.

Upon showing his passport to the agent of the Transportation Security Administration, he said to her that “I guess this counts for nothing” as he also immediately showed his Global Entry identification card that was tucked into his passport holder.

“I’m sorry, Washington tells us we have to do this,” she replied in a gloriously sympathetic tone.

His angst immediately subsided as he watched agents of the Transportation Security Administration do nothing more than swab his carry-on bag for explosive material — but his opinion remains staunch pertaining to what he considers “the utter absurdity of the supplemental security process” and a “horrendous waste of security resources” as to why he was selected for SSSS screening.

“To the simple minds who suggest that ‘we are all potential terrorists’ I would ask ‘really?’”, he said. “So of 200 people on that flight from SIN to EWR I was deemed just as likely to be a terrorist as the great number of non-US citizens on that flight…who don’t have Trusted Traveler status…who have never worked for a US airline with the multiple security checks required to do so…who have hundreds of documented travel itineraries all over the globe?”

He wonders what type of system selects someone with trusted traveler status for enhanced security at the expense of vetting other travelers: “I cannot mine any logic to support such idiocy.”

Other Reasons Why I Will Not Pay For Global Entry or TSA Pre✓

In addition to what you just read, reasons which I have stated in past articles as to why I will not pay for either the Global Entry or TSA Pre✓ programs include — but are not limited to — the following:

  • Both the Global Entry and TSA Pre✓ programs are not available at all airports in the United States.
  • Although frustrating, the inconvenience of long lines and long wait times is an experience I do not encounter often enough to warrant becoming a member of either trusted traveler program.
  • I have received TSA Pre✓ status often in the past and still do become eligible for it at times without having to pay a penny for it.
  • Even at airports where both trusted traveler programs are available, Global Entry and TSA Pre✓ are not always available at all hours in which the airport is open for business.
  • Included in both processes is paying for the privilege of giving the government personal information about yourself — something which many Americans would have loathed to do prior to Tuesday, September 11, 2001 and I still loathe to do today.
  • I do not believe in paying for a program which used to be offered free of charge — let alone volunteer to go out of my way to offer my personal information in an interview in person with agents of the federal government — as I believe that that is simply ridiculous.
  • Travelers already pay taxes as part of the airfare we pay for airport security — we should not have to pay again for expedited access which l cannot help but sense that it is a form of legalized coercion or extortion.

Summary

SSSS Boarding pass

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

I experienced my first SSSS in years in Amsterdam and found that I actually experienced one benefit with my experience of SSSS in Amsterdam. While I would have rather done without it, the experience was not all that bad.

As for me, I am still not interested in enrolling in either the Global Entry or TSA Pre✓ programs for the aforementioned reasons which I have cited.

Past articles which I have written about trusted traveler programs include:

Except as noted, all photographs ©2016 and ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

54 thoughts on “Two More Reasons I Will Not Pay For Global Entry or TSA Pre✓”

  1. sinosoul says:

    LOL ok dude. A friend gets SSSS and that’s 50% of the reason to NOT get GE? Gtfo here. My friends were stuck in MEX/US border returning home == 5 hours wait at the border. I breezed through in 30 minutes. How’s that for ROI on $100? Ditto to the countless times coming in when the GE line was literally 5 minutes versus 30min+ at the regular counters?

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      That is a fantastic return on investment, sinosoul; and I am glad that Global Entry works for you.

      That does not mean, however, that everyone will be guaranteed a similar return on investment…

      1. tim says:

        What “investment” are you talking about it? Most of your readers are getting the $100 cost for Global Entry reimbursed with a credit card. If you don’t apply for it, you don’t get reimbursed

  2. Jose Velez says:

    This year my wife Global Entry expired. She apply for the renewal and it took several month (my daughter and mine were renewed very fast). On September 9 we were returning from MXP to MIA and she got the SSSS on her boarding pass. She had to pass again thru security in the jetway. We landed in Miami and since we landed one hour ahead of schedule we try to get an earlier flight. We recheck the bags and were put on a wait list. Her boarding pass had again the SSSS and it took 30 minutes for the checking and telephone calls etc. We almost lost the flight and we got poor seats since we were the last in. We have several flights left this year and will see if this was a regular procedure or they are blacklisting people with middle east last names (US borne 2nd generation).

    I am happy with the global pass because on all international flights I was being blacklisted with very long period of investigation. Global Pass is paid by my credit card anyway and on most of the airports I travel it makes a difference.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I wonder why several months were needed for Global Entry to be renewed for your wife, Jose Velez.

      I am glad that Global Entry works for you.

  3. Edward says:

    This was a pretty long article which comprised mostly of American entitlement and general whining. I hope your “friend” who was j/s qualified and “Cockpit access” at dal feels better. Keep up the good work!

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Why is the word “friend” in “quotes” in your “comment”, “Edward”?

  4. x says:

    Brian- Consider re-titling this article “White American man indignant when his white privilege is not recognized”. I am really disappointed you would verbatim print the racist diatribe from your friend, who cites the “great number of non-US citizens on that flight”, “hundreds of passengers … doubtless that many/most were not US citizens”. First of all, how would he know that about the “hundreds of” others, simply by the way they look? Second off, this exact kind of thinking is what leads to racial profiling — “why not go after the people who don’t look American? They’re more likely to be terrorists”. Maybe this individual should be sympathetic (and fortunate?) his name isn’t Mohammed. Third, you of ALL people as a BoardingArea blogger, should be aware that the dreaded SSSS can hit randomly and that’s just the way it goes — fortunately, the computer is color-blind when it assigns that (like it or not, I guess) — many of your fellow bloggers have received the SSSS at times, and it’s not a big deal. Your readers have hundreds of documented global itineraries, and some of them have even worked for airlines, and yet we all get the SSSS from time to time.

    The criterion for a low-risk traveler shouldn’t be American citizenship, or “looking like” an American. It would have been nice if you talked about what could have led to the SSSS- I suspect the initial DPS-SIN upgrade triggered it, as it can appear as a whole new itinerary was just created (one of the SSSS triggers is last-minute one-way flight bookings).

    At any rate, as someone who travels internationally numerous times a month, global entry has made it zippy for me to get out of the airport.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      You have written some good points in your comment, x; but I am disappointed that you automatically assumed that my friend is Caucasian.

  5. Bob says:

    What a dumb blog post. So you’re citing two poor experiences, one of which was not even your own? Also you failed to mention that in the vast majority of cases when the PreCheck line does close, which does typically happen later at night, you just use the regular line and they give you a card which lets you keep your shoes on and you can go through the regular metal detector. Plus, I’m going to bet that you already have a credit card which pays the fee for you so its pretty stupid not to just have it. But to each their own. Thanks for being one less person in the program I guess.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      The people who were taken out of the TSA Pre✓ line were not given a card or any sort of document in the particular experience which I imparted, Bob — so it was not a “failure to mention” on my part.

      You are also incorrect that I have a credit card which would pay the fee for trusted traveler status — and yes, I have several credit cards which I use regularly.

  6. Mike C. says:

    “What you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

  7. Nadine says:

    Just about every credit card with an annual fee pays for Global Entry or TSA precheck. It’s worth it because the lines move faster and you don’t have to lift your arms up as they scan nude body pics of yourself.
    Now if you can use TSA precheck along with CLEAR then you have a winner!
    Actually I’m surprised that the Delta credit cards didn’t pay for a year of CLEAR since Delta owns a part of that company.

  8. Max Firtman says:

    I can confirm the Global Entry part. I’m currently seated in my flight to US, I’m a Global Entry member from Argentina and my boarding had the SSSS. That also mean I won’t have TSA PRE on my connection tomorrow morning because it’s the same reservation. It sounds definitely weird!

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I did not realize that being selected for SSSS on international flights also automatically means no TSA Pre✓, Max Firtman.

      Thank you for sharing that useful information.

  9. Rick says:

    “OMG, 2 times out of a hundred I didn’t get the white glove treatment, I’ve never get this service again!”

    Wow! Seriously? With TSA Pre and Global Entry I breeze through security and immigration. Well worth the price (add Clear and it’s unbelievable). And the one time I got SSSS for a DXB to SFO flight, the extra effort was pretty minimal (in my experience, it’s actually been a worse experience to get a random selection at the metal detector in the US – you breeze through Clear and TSA Pre in 30 seconds and then have to stand in a line for 10 minutes until a TSA person frees up process you).

    That’s cool, shorter lines for TSA Pre and Global Entry for me 🙂

  10. tim says:

    Boy are you in the minority on this one

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I am perfectly okay with that, tim.

  11. Donald says:

    Slow news day huh?! Ranting at the clouds.

  12. tjp74 says:

    This is a dumbest post i’ve i ever read on boarding area. Either that or its a brilliant click bait. LOL

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Click bait?

      What did I write that was overly exaggerated or not true, tjp74?

      You do realize that what you wrote will not exactly win Comment of the Year…

  13. DaninMCI says:

    So I’m guessing you don’t like CLEAR either? 🙂

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      How did you know, DaninMCI?

  14. Debit says:

    Good job Brian. We need become that march to their own drums and beats. So stay different. It’s fine.

    All of us don’t have to be idiots that blindly vote for the blonde chimpanzee. We have too many who already follow the crowd blindly.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Thank you, Debit. I appreciate it.

      I stand by what I wrote in this article.

  15. Andre says:

    I think Brian’s happy so many people actually responded to one of his posts! Desperate much?

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      You should have seen my unabated excitement when after greater than 13 years of writing articles, Andre, someone finally responded to one.

      I was just giddy with glee and danced a jig for several hours.

  16. Charlie says:

    Since there are almost 20 credit cards that offer Global Entry or TSA Precheck reimbursement, there is really no reason for most of us in this game to “pay” for either.
    Also, I would say that the few times I have encountered closed TSA Pre lines certainly do not negate the many hours of time I’ve been saved by having TSA Pre. It also causes me less hassle since I do not have to take stuff out of my bags.
    Also, it is actually CBP agents, not TSA agents, that handle the in-person interview for GE.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I do not hold any of the credit cards which offer Global Entry or TSA Pre✓, Charlie.

      Thank you for the correction about who handles the in-person interview for Global Entry.

  17. Statistics Is Fun says:

    I assume the “random” selection of a passenger for “SSSS” screening, is to avoid one issue and create another issue. The random selection process is used to avoid discrimination based on gender, nationality, religion, … On the other hand, to deter a potential criminal, the random selection process provides a level of risk the criminal must face when boarding a plane. I don’t like being tagged with SSSS on my boarding pass, but accept the nature of a random selection and don’t take it personally.

  18. Stogieguy7 says:

    Gee, the TSA agents in Miami were rude and nonchalant? And that’s one of your reasons for skipping PreCheck? Let me clue you in: pretty much everyone working at MIA is rude and nonchalant. And they often do things like close a line that you’re in, offering nothing more than a shrug and “whatever”. Has nothing to do with PreCheck and everything to do with you making the mistake of connecting through that nasty hole.

    As for your friend who got the SSSS, sh1t happens. Even with PreCheck, periodically you get the dreaded beep while walking through the metal detector which means a secondary, cavity-search, waste of everyone’s time, screening. Happens to everyone. Just because you have PreCheck doesn’t mean that you can jump out of your Uber and walk right over to the gate. It does mean that you can leave your shoes on, computer in its bag and avoid the 45 minute line-from-hell that the general population is stuck in. But hey, don’t get PreCheck. The fewer people in my line, the better. What a dumb blog post……

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I completely agree with your comments pertaining to Miami International Airport, Stogieguy7. That “nasty hole” as you call it will never win the award for best airport in the world — or even in the state of Florida, for that matter.

      As for SSSS, I stated in the article that I have received it at random in the past — but I did not have to pay for trusted traveler status when I was selected for it.

  19. David says:

    I think you’re out of touch with your audience. Very few people who read BoardingArea are paying out of pocket for Precheck/GE. I mean I get it, you miss the “good old days” and you resent the security procedures in the US. But refusing to participate in this demonstrably useful program because of a few contrived reasons is silly to me.

    The way I see it, you’re a martyr for a cause almost no one cares about, and you’re not smart/influential/rich enough to effect any meaningful change; so the only loser here is you. If you’re really serious about dying on this hill, you should go and lobby congress or something. At least then I can actually respect your dedication to the cause. As for now you just sound like a whiny dinosaur refusing to accept the reality of the current age.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I would be out of touch with my audience if I recommended or advised to not get TSA Pre✓ or Global Entry, David — but all I did was simply state my thoughts for my traveling…

      …and please allow me to confirm that the way you see things pertaining to me is generally incorrect — although I do not blindly follow the herd; and I will never apologize for that. I arrive at every decision which affects me on an independent basis.

      You do what is best for you; and I will do what is best for me. If anything changes along the way, we have a right to change our minds. Can we agree on that?

  20. Rich says:

    Get the Nexus pass. It gives you global entry and pre check for $50 for 5 years. Best money spent.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Sounds like good advice, Rich.

      Thank you.

    2. jose velez says:

      Nexus is only for Canada Entry points

      1. Brian Cohen says:

        Thank you for the clarification, jose velez.

    3. Bobbi Matthews says:

      Never heard of this…must check this out!

  21. Lara S. says:

    I am not sure I find your arguments compelling. I filled out the GE application and it asked for the kind of information you already give them for your passport, and what countries I have been to in the last X years, which again, they already know from my going in and out of Immigration each time. The interview consisted of them asking me what I did for a living, a fingerprint check, and some banal conversation with the agent. None of which was intrusive or any more so than any basic entry or exit into a country (many require fingerprints and photos). I am not sure what about that is intrusive?

    I’d add that I fly internationally once a month to weird places, and GE has saved me a TON OF TIME going through Houston, Chicago, Newark and Dulles. Like I can get through Immigration and Customs and through TSA Pre back to the plane-side in an average of 10 minutes (which would be faster if I wasn’t short). To be fair, I use carryon luggage so I don’t have to wait for checked bags! Many of my friends have TSA Pre and most of my co-workers have it and GE (one hold out uses mobile passport and swears its the same). In the over 150,000 miles I’ve flown this past year, and about 10 international trips, I have had TSA line closed exactly once. And it sucked, true but once is not very much when you consider I use it twice each trip, so 19/20 times it was available.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      You presented one of the few well-reasoned comments for this article, Lara S.. Thank you.

      Nowhere in the article did I say that I advise anyone to do what I do or what I believe. I know I am in the minority on this subject; and I was not expecting everyone to agree with me. Rather, everyone has different travel patterns. With very few exceptions, mine simply do not warrant enrolling in a trusted traveler program. Your travel patterns do.

      I have seen the TSA Pre✓ line closed quite a number of times. You have only seen that happen once. Once again, we have different travel patterns.

      Now, this is not to say that I would not change my mind one day and sign up for a trusted traveler program. Right now, that does not fit for me…

      …and that the application for Global Entry is not intrusive is good to know.

  22. Barry Graham says:

    I was chosen for SSSS once and TSA Pre has been closed but I still consider this a great way to spend $50 (on Nexus). When you get an SSSS you can apply for a redress number to help to lessen the chances of it happening again.

  23. Bill G says:

    @Jose Velez Nexus is NOT only for Canadian entry points. Nexus is global entry PLUS Canadian entry points. It does more for half the price. The down side is that you must be interviewed both the US and Canadian officials so that means being close to the US/Canadian border.

    1. Jose Velez says:

      You are correct with Nexus but for practical purpose is for people that are close to the Canadian border since all the interviews centers are at the border with Canada. It is too costly to comply with the interview process. Also 2 of my credit cards pays Global Entry fee but do not pay the nexus fee. The interviews for Global Entry in Puerto Rico do not have any delays. New York, Miami, Atlanta and others appointments have long waiting period.

  24. Frank says:

    I fly in and out of BWI a lot….They typically only have one TSA line open out of the three checkpoint areas there. The TSA Pre Check line is longer than the non-TSA line. I see people sneak into TSA all the time and they are allowed to go through. I was in back of a family of four who had 1 person that was TSA Pre Check, and the other 3 not….They were all allowed to pass as a family. Plus, I believe there are way too many individuals who do not understand Pre Check as I watch too may continue to take off their shoes, belts, take their laptops out, etc. It is becoming frustrating…

  25. Bobbi Matthews says:

    Thank you for writing this article! I have been considering precheck and your article has given me much to think about!

    Regards!

  26. Melissa says:

    Yea…I hate to pile on but this article is just not well done. This is a very long article to express why you don’t like something because of 2 random situations, one of which didn’t even happen to you. I think I’m perplexed why you even chose this as your feature article this time. I agree with someone else above who said perhaps this was click bait (?). Who shoot’s down something because once a year they get SSSS on their boarding pass? Or one TSA agent at one airport was rude one time.

    Since we’re giving anecdotal stories I guess I’ll throw mine in. I’ve been TSAPre since it was given away free initially to frequent fliers of certain airlines. I eventually purchased Global Entry which includes TSAPre (free, through my credit card). I travel through O’hare every week. For the past 5 years I’ve traveled 100k+. I wouldn’t ever, under any circumstance, consider traveling without it.

    In the past 5 years only twice has it taken me more than 10 minutes to get through security at Terminal 3 (American Airlines). More often than not I arrive at O’hare an hour before my flight departs and still have time to grab a bagel from the Admirals Club. This is ONLY possible due to TSAPre (YMMV).

    But to each his own.

  27. DKKimbo says:

    If they start saying I shouldn’t be “randomly” selected due to a certain criterion, at that point it fails to be random.

  28. Thomas Shelton says:

    I would not consider Intl travel without Global Entry. We have made many connections and saved hours of waiting that would not have been remotely possible w/o Global Entry. As stated, it’s paid for by our credit cards and provides a great service in all of the major ports of entry. Your article seems terribly skewed for someone who purports to be a regular traveler. Do you not qualify for GE?

  29. Richard says:

    While I understand your article and get your reasons for not doing GE, TSA pre-check, or other method to facilitate your travel, I’m not going to slam you as others have. You’re stating your opinion, and while I think it may be a bit obstinate, I can’t disagree because you’re you and that’s your decision.

    I will say that as a semi-frequent traveler (from 12-50 times a year – generally I average about 24 trips to the airport per year), TSA pre was initially great. However, I found the lines increasingly long and decided to get Clear – which was basically paid for between my United status and my credit card – Clear is now how TSA pre used to be before everyone signed up, and/or, TSA is just giving TSA pre to more people who didn’t sign up (I used to get it a lot before I signed up)… So, that’s what I’ll say about the relative merits of having/not having TSA pre. Then again, my primary airport is San Francisco (SFO) and SFO has myriad problems – so, it shouldn’t be surprising that the TSA lines there are longer…

    As for your anecdote on the SSSS system, the system is flawed at best – it’s done, legally, to ensure randomness and to not single out any one group of people. Certainly, TSA and CBP could align the system so those who have TSA pre wouldn’t have to be scrutinized… As a security professional, and someone who realizes that most of what one has to go through at the airport is/are “feel good” measures, the United States needs to up it’s game and get serious about security. Almost all of the measures we now go through are pointless – the rationale behind them is so TSA can observe people’s behavior – does someone fumble with their license; do they start to sweat profusely if asked questions; on an on… but the TSA personnel seem so swamped, bored, and in many instances, untrained, that this observational method falls through the cracks (and it is inherently biased)… AI might eventually lead us to a solution but I’m not holding my breath.

    That said, Brian, I don’t have a solution that would remain unbiased, focus on potential criminals/terrorists, and yet be fair and equitable for all. Curious what your thoughts on this are? perhaps fodder for a future article?

  30. Carol Eisenhauer says:

    I was sent through thi same hell returning from Copenhagem via Iceland on Icelabd Air. I had less than one hour connection and as the time passedfor me to board, i was told i would have to stay overnight if i missed my flight. No one told us they holding our flight while they randomly called people up for inspection. Not only was i searched in Iceland but was searched again when i got to Seattle. Very frustrating!!!

  31. As for lines closing, Miami is the spoiler ad for nearly everything else. TSA agents are rude bullies, and in Terminal D, Global Entry rarely works — well yes, you can join the usual line and don’t have to take off your shoes, big deal. The problem is not Global Entry it is Miami, which really needs to clean up its act (and not only on Global Entry — it is well known as a passenger-unfriendly airport.

  32. BM says:

    When my Global Entry expired I applied for Nexus, totally prepared to travel to the boarder for my interview, however I was approved without an interview.

  33. j says:

    This post is unhinged and completely irrational.

    Many times you are being selected for secondary screening because you are a man traveling alone to an exotic locale. It’s part of intelligent security. The TSA is not mad at you, they are just following regulations.

    I am not sure how much you travel and how important your time is if you can’t see the advantage to skipping long security lines and using Global Entry upon arrival to the US. You must not fly into any major airports where the customs and immigration lines can sometimes last for hours.

    It makes sense to encourage frequent travelers with low security risk to pool themselves into a separate category like PreCheck / GE / Nexus. If $20 a year isn’t worth it for GE , you must not travel that much. If you can’t qualify for GE due to criminal convictions you can use PreCheck and the Mobile Passport app.

    I recommend looking for credit cards that pay the GE/Precheck fee.

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