Has Global Entry Made Me a Bad Friend?

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In May I obtained Global Entry and it has changed my life for the better and the worse.

global entry

I qualified for Global Entry on my way to Easter Island and was able to use it 3 days later when I returned. The lines in Miami were 200 deep for non-residents and at least 50 people long for US citizens. Global Entry however, was completely empty and 15 minutes after deplaning, I was going through customs. Life has been good ever since.

Except when traveling with friends who don’t have it.

I felt most guilty coming back from my vacation in Asia. The friend I was flying with did not have Global Entry. I had a slightly tight connection, she had a longish layover. So I gave her big hugs and left her in the immigration line. 10 minutes later I was collecting my luggage and headed off to recheck it, guaranteed to make my flight (which wound up departing an hour late). I did feel bad, but rationalized she was based on the west coast and only had an hour flight longer to get home (vs my 5 hr flight).

keep those shoes onAnd because Global Entry also equals = TSA pre-check, I feel guilty on regular basis during domestic trips. I probably should be willing to stand in the normal security lines with friends, but not having to take off all my clothes and opt-out is just too appealing.

Jeanne doesn’t have pre-check quite yet. That’s led to some awkward situations in LAX and other airports. I don’t want to have to opt out, so I go through pre-check and wait for her. Often up to 20 minutes. I feel guilty, but not guilty enough to forgo the extra freedom.

Still, it’s tough to know what the “right” thing to do is, or even what others expectations are. I would be slightly wistful but not resentful if one of my traveling companions could get through more quickly even if I couldn’t. At the least they won’t be ahead of me holding up my lane.

What do you think? What is the right etiquette when traveling with non-Global Entry/non-TSA Pre check friends?


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Heels First’s Travel Advice–Sophisticated Travel, Uncomplicated Advice. The travels and tribulations of two frequent flyers jumping into the world of travel, sharing their travel advice. Join Keri and Jeanne as they tackle mileage runs, elite status, and of course–the perfect travel accessories.


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