In that time, I’m supposed to get off the plane from IAH to IAD and then run to baggage claim, get my big purple luggage that will be filled with everything in the world that I own, and then run back to check-in to get on my next leg of the trip which will be IAD to LIS, Washington D.C. to Lisbon.
Now, it’s been a few months since my last flight, and to be fair, I’ve never even been to D.C, much less have I been to that airport. I have no idea how bad the wait times are and I can only go off my personal experience at any airline and unfortunately that hasn’t always been great. I’ve had to wait AGES for any baggage to come off our planes and I have a tendency to worry that I won’t get to the next part of the flight if my luggage is lost or the absolute last bag to come off the plane. Unfortunately, I have no control over my bag once I hand it over to be checked in, so if I can make everything else a bit faster and more streamlined, I’m going to do it.
I just couldn’t stop thinking about how when my husband was active military he had TSA Pre-check and it was so much faster than my lines when we would fly together. I would be waiting for an extra twenty minutes, on average, and it was just a pain, as he took all of ten minutes to get through and he didn’t even have to take his shoes off. The more that I worried and worried about how long my bags might take, the more I wanted to make sure that I was able to just grab them and the rest of the check in was going to be fast.
I looked up the requirements to get TSA Pre-check. I apparently had to get fingerprinted and I had to do an interview and a background check, and it seemed that it was all done at the same time, so it seemed super easy. However, the more I read about it, the more I realized that this is only good in the states. There are some countries that also have it, and thats great, but its not going to be much of a help to me when I am trying to fly back INTO the US. So, I kept looking, knowing that if nothing else, Pre-check was the least that I was going to need.
Then I found the Homeland Security Trusted Traveler Programs website. It has ALL of the programs listed, even TSA Pre-check and it tells you enough about each of them to help you figure out which one you should pick for your situation.
Going through the little rundown they have of each program, four of the five are able to be used by air, which is going to be my predominant way of traveling back and forth while I’m away. From there, I noticed that only two of the programs are for all modes of travel (land, air, and sea), Nexus and Global Entry. Considering that I’m not moving to Canada, but Spain, the next step was a no-brainer as Nexus wasn’t going to help me at all in my Auxiliar life. SO, Global Entry it was.
The process was not hard at all. First you have to fill out an application for approval. Once tentatively approved, you have to schedule your appointment for an interview.
This step probably took me the longest because we were traveling down to my parents and I had to find a place to even get an appointment. In Houston there are like 5 locations but some of them are for “private reservations” or something like that, and they don’t allow you to book those. SO, I had to wait for an opening at one of the airports or the library, which was booked until October. Luckily I found one for August at IAH and I booked it as fast as my fingers could click.
It was off to the corner of the lobby of the airport and it was 9am and everyone was eerily quiet and groggy and once they called my name, it only took about ten minutes and I was interviewed, fingerprinted, and approved, and off I went.
I still haven’t received my physical card in the mail, and it’s been about a week, so I still have time (and to be honest, I haven’t checked my mail), so no worries.
The best part is that the program lasts for FIVE YEARS. So, this might be a huge benefit as I am going to be able to use it from Spain and it will give me Pre-check for that entire time.
Next week I have my actual VISA appointment, and the nerves that I had for the Global Entry interview are paltry compared to how I’m handling this next appointment. Let’s see if I did everything correctly and if I made enough copies of absolutely everything. I’ve heard Spain really likes their document copies.