I arrived in New York after a six hour flight from Iceland. Iceland Air dropped us at a strange terminal I’d never been to at JFK. The ceilings were low and you could tell this was the “ghetto” terminal. Several high capacity airplanes just landed—the kind that unload 300+ passengers in under ten minutes…and everyone rushed for the immigration line.
Two hours passed.
We still couldn’t see the end of the line as hundreds of people milled about the narrow passage way leading to the immigration area. Another hour passed. We’re still waiting and we haven’t collected our luggage yet.
Here’s how we cut the line once we realized we had other options—and how you can do the same thing.
Download Mobile Passport
We noticed there was no one in the mobile passport line. Mobile Passport is a CBP approved application available for iPhone and Android. The application enables you to speed through customs and border patrol at 26 airports in the USA. After waiting for hours I noticed the mobile passport line was empty so I downloaded the application and effectively bypassed hundreds of onlookers.
If you travel internationally you’ve probably already heard of trusted traveler programs like Global Entry. Global Entry requires a background check, application fee, finger printing, and a CPD interview. Once approved for Global Entry your arrival from international flights will be less stressful, and much faster. Instead of waiting in line you’ll be able to use an automated kiosk process to breeze through customs. No processing line, no paperwork, no waiting. At $100 for a 5 year membership we think the Global Entry is worth it.
On the departure side of things there’s TSA pre-check and Clear. TSA pre-check enables you to go through a special line when entering the airport security zone. At $85 this is an investment in your sanity. More information on TSA pre-check can be found on the official website.
Clear is a technology startup who’s mission is to move you through security at more than forty airports and stadiums faster and safer than ever. The jury is still out on this startup but it’s worth a shot for the $15/month fee. You can check out Clear here: https://www.clearme.com/