I was always that weirdo who opted out of the airport scanner machines. I never liked them, and I knew that the jury was out on their safety and health risks (even though TSA always claimed they were safe).
If you opt out of the scanner machines, you’ll be subjected to a patdown. I never minded much (free massage!), except that waiting for a patdown always takes awhile, and you’re subjected to gawking stares from fellow passengers who think you’ve been pulled aside because you’re a terrorist.
It was actually a TSA agent patting me down a few years ago who recommended getting Global Entry. I’m amazed that I didn’t really know much about the program even though I fly over 2 or 3 dozen times a year for work.
If you travel at all outside the country, and hopefully in your thirties you’re doing a bit more of that, I highly recommend Global Entry.
You’ve probably heard of TSA Pre-check– this allows you to bypass the sometimes crazy lines and go straight through security in your own line.
Global Entry is basically TSA Pre-Check PLUS. You get all the benefits of Pre-Check, PLUS you’re able to bypass Customs when you return from most travel abroad…plus other awesome benefits. You get:
-To bypass the long security line at most airports!
-To leave your shoes on when you go through security (soo nice!)
– To never have to go through the airport scanner (known as a millimeter wave device). You always get to simply go through the metal detector as long as the PreCheck line is open.
-You don’t have to take your laptop out of your bag
-You don’t have to take off your light jacket
-You get more respect when you travel (when gate agents or security agents see my Global Entry card, things always seem to go extra smoothly.
– With Global Entry, your chances of getting PreCheck on your boarding pass are way higher than when you just havePreCheck. I get PreCheck on my boarding pass almost 100% of the time, but a lot of my friends who just have PreCheck (vs Global Entry) get it on their boarding pass around 60%-75% of the time.
It’s easy to apply for Global Entry- just follow the directions here. It’s $100 for 5 years, so only $20 a year- very affordable and super worth it!
TSA Precheck is $85 for 5 years, but you get none of the international and extra benefits that Global Entry gets you. So pay the 15 extra dollars and get Global Entry. It’s been the best thing I’ve done for myself regarding travel.