Global Entry Pass – yea or nay? Is it really worth that $100?

When they first came up with the idea of a pass to let you breeze through customs, I was intrigued but wondered if it would be worth it. I mean, it is $100 every 5 years.  I had some friends that did it and really liked the ease of reentry into the U.S.  I didn’t do if for a couple of years then finally after one too many long customs lines, I bit the bullet and paid the $100 for 5 years.

Ok, now is it worth it?  If you travel internationally at least once a year, YES!!  The very first time I used it, I was flying home from South Africa and my flight from Amsterdam was nearly 2 hours late into Seattle.  I had never gone through customs in Seattle and it was a nightmare.  Granted, I should have been there 2 hours earlier but there were so many flights coming into the line at once, I would have missed my connecting flight, no question!!  I breezed through and made the flight, barely!!  They had already boarded nearly everyone and it was supposed to be a full flight.  6 people arrived later than me and 15 people on the flight from Seattle didn’t make it!!  I’ll bet I know where they were…

Not all customs lines are that bad, I realize.  However, there are certain entry points that are a constant source of problems with missed connecting flights.  Miami is the worst for me and my clients, especially on a Saturday!!  I won’t even book a flight from the Caribbean or Mexico through Miami with less than a 4 hour layover.  Even that may not be enough on Saturday!!!  Dallas, Atlanta and Houston I want a minimum of 3 hours, 3 1/2 is better.  I’ll be flying into Charlotte in November so I will see how the lines are there for my clients that are flying with me and don’t have Global Entry.  Hopefully, everyone will make it through in a timely manner.

I have also learned that come airline credit cards will reimburse the $100 fee so I need to remember that when I renew.  I also need to check to see how I paid the initial $100.  I may get it back yet…