This is the final review part of my Dubai Marathon Trip. This one is to tell you how much Global Entry rules and how it helped me get home. After this post, I will have one shortly on how you can use miles for the different parts of this trip to fly first class with the carriers I have mentioned in the review.
Global Entry Rules
My flight from London arrived a little bit late so I knew I would not be able to make my originally schedule JetBlue flight (which was scheduled to depart in 5 minutes from the moment we hit the gate). The night before, I had booked a Delta flight that left 2 hours later (I used pay-with-miles, which is normally not a great redemption, but I couldn’t pay $250 to fly JFK-Rochester), so I planned on just heading to Terminal 3 for that flight.
We arrived in Terminal 7 and JetBlue departed from Terminal 5. Before I would be able to get to the gate to depart on the JetBlue flight, I would have to get off the plane, go through Immigration/Passport Control, go through Customs, take the AirTrain to Terminal 5, go through security and then make my way to the gate. On a good day, you would not be able to get from security to the gate (if you are about to go through the security screening). There would be no way I could do all of that and make it in time. But, wait! I noticed on my phone that the flight was delayed 10 minutes. I knew I could race there on a good day, but my foot was still really hurting and swollen and I wouldn’t be able to run that fast to get there. I still considered just skipping Terminal 5 and heading for my Delta flight. I called my wife to let her know I was on the ground and she encouraged me to try and make it. So, I was going to try!
It is important to note – there is no way anyone can get through the regular Immigration line in 5 minutes unless your plane is the only one there and you are in first or business class. However, I have this amazing thing called Global Entry. I have mentioned this before but never really went into it too deeply. Because it again proved invaluable, I will be doing a write-up tomorrow on the process and what Global Entry is all about. To put it simply for now, it is a program for Trusted Travelers who submit a long application for review of personal details to confirm your identity and then an interview with a Customs and Border Patrol officer who goes over some things with you. It costs $100 for 5 years (but I will tomorrow also how you can get it for free) so breaks down to $20 a year. If you were to take one international trip a year, it would be incredibly worth it! It allows you to skip the line at Immigration/Passport Control and go to the Global Entry Kiosk where you scan your passport, allow the machine to take a photo of you, give your fingerprints and quickly answer a few questions. It will then spit out a piece of paper that you give to the customs officer after customs (also through a quick line) and then you are out of there! I have timed this and it takes me roughly 2 minutes to do all of that (that is without having to wait for luggage at customs). This time, I was able to get off the plane and get on the AirTrain in 4 minutes!
Now, I had about 10 minutes left before my JetBlue flight was going to leave. My phone app was saying that they were delayed and was still giving the 10 minutes late time as the time of departure. I knew the door would probably shut soon but I kept going. After getting off of the AirTrain, I ran to a JetBlue kiosk to print out my ticket. Trip Tip: I had checked-in the night before for this flight on the off-chance that I could make it. ALWAYS check-in for a flight that you may miss because if you happen to get there with enough time, the kiosks and agents will not let you check-in under 30 minutes before scheduled departure. Since I had already checked-in, it was just doing a print out of my boarding pass. I grabbed in and sped to the security checkpoint. There, there was a short line, but I calmly asked the agent at the front of the entry area if I would be able to make it through in time. She escorted me to the front and I was through security in another minute (no TSA Pre-check, unfortunately – will talk about that tomorrow as well!). I ran for my gate and got there, panting, to see a group of people looking put out. I asked if this was the Rochester flight and got some frustrated grunts for a “yes” – I had made it! They didn’t look so happy that I was happy there was delay, but I didn’t care – I was headed home!
Since I was definitely going to make this flight, I went on the Delta Airlines app and cancelled my flight with them. Trip Tip: If you think you are going to miss a flight and there is not another flight with the same airline that day, check out booking a flight with another airline. Make sure you read their cancellation policies, but this way you will have a back-up plan. In most cases, you will need to book it less than 24 hours before departure of the back-up flight. Since I had booked my Delta flight the day before, I was able to cancel for free under their Risk-Free Cancellation policy. So, I didn’t lose any miles there!
I made it home in Rochester just 30 minutes later than I was supposed to and was very happy about that! Thank you, Global Entry, for making it possible!