How to bypass airport queues your finger tips
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.