I will be the lone cynic here. At first Global Entry was great - a huge timer saver, but recently the lines for GE and precheck have become more crowded. Precheck lines during recent trips are routinely about the same length, if not longer, than the non-precheck line. Global entry still is a net positive but less so in recent trips. Of course it depends on the airport and time of day.
I often joke with the agent that they need to introduce a more exclusive version of Precheck because the lines are so long. But it isn’t really a joke anymore because I saw some airports are doing this on their own.
I do still recommend GE . But in the end, if it doesn’t save much time you have to consider if its worth giving up your personal privacy.
And if you really want to cut through all the bullshit of travel, I recommend you find a provider under the RSSP program:
The Reimbursable Screening Services Program (RSSP) is a pilot program that will enable TSA to be reimbursed for establishing and providing screening services outside an airport terminal’s existing primary screening area for passengers. Requests for RSSP locations not at or near an airport (“off-airport”) will be considered if TSA security protocols and funding requirements and agreements with the relevant local airport authorities can be met. Through the reimbursable services agreement, PS provides screening
services to business executives, celebrities, and other high-profile travelers. I think Delta One uses this at participating airports.
I’m a dual US citizen (not with UK though) and went through the same process as everyone else. I’ve found it saves time if you travel a lot. Now they have introduced facial recognition at US global entry kiosks, you can often pass through immigration in <30 seconds without even getting out your passport. But if you have checked luggage, passengers on the same flight without Global Entry will often catch up to you at baggage claim, so it often depends on how many flights have arrived at the same time.
Main criticism I have is the cost and application hassle. High annual fee US credit cards will often cover the cost as a benefit. But the reality is a lot of countries have this tech in place for everyone at no charge. For example, when traveling to places like Australia or Singapore, you quickly pass through a kiosk and facial scan system that is similar to Global Entry, and all you need is a standard e-passport.
I will never forget the time we arrived at ORD from FCO. There must have been 300+ people waiting in the ‘normal’ line. We walked and walked and walked past all those people in line, and zipped right through at the GE kiosk. A couple who were also on our arriving flight, and who were to be on our connecting flight to LA, missed the connection because they didn’t have GE.
DFW comes to mind, where maybe only one of three or four TSA screening stations in a terminal is staffed for PreCheck. At the TBIT at LAX, the PreCheck line is often commingled with non-PreCheck passengers, but you are given a plastic card to show the agents along the way that you are PreCheck.
I do agree with you that most airports have PreCheck, but you can’t always depend on it.
Bottom line for me though… GE (and PreCheck) are definitely worth it.
I use Clear but only because I’ve had membership reimbursements from credit card companies and airline loyalty programs, otherwise I wouldn’t bother. The thing about Clear is that they have so many staff individually walking you up to the machines, standing with you while you use it, then escorting you to the security line. What is the point of setting up an automated process then having 1-1 humans holding your hand through it all? It slows down so much in peak times at some airports, there is little difference to joining the normal Pre-Check line, and sometimes they will even direct Clear members there instead. Airports take a cut of your membership too. Another security theater scam.