How to by­pass air­port queues your fin­ger tips

The East African - - MAGAZINE | FREQUENT FLYER - - New York Times

Mov­ing through the air­port is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly high-tech and, for many fre­quent fly­ers, faster. The per­cent­age of air trav­ellers who used au­to­mated meth­ods (like Global En­try kiosks) dur­ing the in­ter­na­tional ar­rivals process soared to more than 50 per cent in 2017, up from about 3 per cent in 2013, and that num­ber is ex­pected to rise.

The US’S Trans­porta­tion Se­cu­rity Ad­min­is­tra­tion ex­panded its ex­pe­dited screen­ing pro­gram, TSA Precheck, to Air France, KLM Royal Dutch Air­lines, Brus­sels Air­lines, Philip­pine Air­lines and World At­lantic, bring­ing the num­ber of air­lines par­tic­i­pat­ing in the pro­gramme to close to 50 across some 200 air­ports around the world. The Global En­try pro­gramme — where mem­bers scan their fin­ger­prints and pass­ports at kiosks in­stead of wait­ing in im­mi­gra­tion lines — is also grow­ing.

In the US, the Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion has in­creas­ingly been push­ing be­yond fin­ger­print bio­met­rics, test­ing fa­cial recog­ni­tion exit tech­nol­ogy. Fa­cial recog­ni­tion tech­nol­ogy is also be­ing tested dur­ing the board­ing process at cer­tain air­ports where for in­stance, they be­gan al­low­ing trav­ellers to use their fin­ger­prints rather than a board­ing passes, and also al­low­ing trav­ellers to check their lug­gage us­ing their fin­ger­prints as iden­ti­fi­ca­tion as well.

Global En­try re­quires back­ground checks and fees. Yet in the past year or so a free pro­gramme that ex­pe­dites the im­mi­gra­tion process has be­come more pop­u­lar, even with mem­bers of Global En­try.

To join Global En­try you must com­plete a com­pre­hen­sive on­line form about your travel his­tory, have an in-per­son in­ter­view with a Cus­toms of­fi­cial, be fin­ger­printed and pay a $100 ap­pli­ca­tion fee (good for five years). It’s the most seam­less way to move through Cus­toms: You sim­ply stop at an au­to­mated pass­port con­trol kiosk, iden­tify your­self with your pass­port and fin­ger bio­met­rics, and tap a screen to an­swer a few ques­tions. Pass­port hold­ers from Ar­gentina, Colom­bia, Ger­many, In­dia, Mex­ico, the Nether­lands, Panama, the Repub­lic of Ko­rea, Sin­ga­pore, Switzer­land, Tai­wan and Bri­tain may also ap­ply for Global en­try. But a num­ber of trav­ellers from other coun­tries have been dis­cov­er­ing a free pro­gramme called Mo­bile Pass­port Con­trol — the use of which has in­creased three­fold from 2016 to 2017.

While not nec­es­sar­ily as quick as Global En­try, it still saves users the time and has­sle of fill­ing out a pa­per dec­la­ra­tion form. And it doesn’t re­quire any sort of ad­vance ap­proval or in­ter­view. Rather, it works through a free Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion app for IOS and An­droid called Mo­bile Pass­port and can be used at about 25 air­ports.

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