We just flew back into Seattle from Puerto Vallarta and used a trick to save a lot of time. If you have a smart phone, make sure you download the free app called Mobile Pass. You fill out all your information for your passport, and as soon as you touch down in Seattle, you transit the request for the airline you came in on, and will get a confirmation scan code in under a minute or so.
Now when you go to customs, you don't get in the line where the hundreds of people are going through the Kiosk Entry machines, because if you start that too, your Mobile Pass can't be used. Instead you will see you get to go through the same lines that the airline crew goes through. The line says above it for Airline Crew and Mobile Pass. Your just show your confirmation to the attending person and they will have you scan that confirmation code you got back, and then send you through. People look at you as you sail by, trying to figure out how you did it. After you pick up your checked bags, you will again see the same kind of expedited exit for Airline Crew and Mobile Pass. Saved SO much time! We were at the very back of the plane, and still beat everyone out of the terminal. When you download the app, you will several other big cities have started adopting Mobile Pass too.
Other airports currently supported are:
ATL - Atlanta
MIA - Miami
ORD - Chicago
SEA - Seattle
SFO - San Francisco
That is great information tryt53, sounds almost if not as good as Global Entry. On our return from PVR in August to IAH we were out of the terminal some 10 minutes after we landed and it was about a 7 to 8 minute walk to get to Customs/Immigration level.
I will have to look at Mobile Pass and see what other airports they may be expanding to as our Global Entry will be up for renewal next year. Thanks for the heads up yet again!
IAHFLYR We are just heading to our Global Entry Interview tomorrow. American Express Platinum refunded the whole $200 for the application. They do that again when you have to renew. We got the Platinum under the spend $3,000 in the first 3 months and get 100,000 Express points. We just got those points awarded to our account yesterday
Yep, United reimbursed us both for out Global Entry in 2012, and after your posting I looked and realized we both are good till mid 2017. Pre-Check will also be well worth your inteview time as it took us about five minutes for ours, of course that may have been due to my security level when working for the U.S. Gov't.......now retired we may have a bit more to answer for! LOL
tryt53, is this instead of Global Entry or in addition to Global Entry? When you mention the Kiosk Machines, are you talking about the Global Entry machines? We have Global Entry and really love it. Can you use the Mobile Pass app if you don't have Global Entry, or instead of Global Entry, or how does that work?
clebert You can use the Mobile Pass instead of Global Entry. The line is the same for both. If you have Global Entry, it might be a little better, in that you don't have to wait for the response when you land, like you need to for the Mobile Pass to work. Global Entry just works without any interaction from somebody else. The other advantage with getting Global Entry is that you get TSA Pre-check with it.
Mobile Pass is great for those who don't have Global Entry.
Thank you for this incredible tip! We purposely avoided Houston for our annual Mexico trip because of the insane crowds upon return and low amount of agents in past years, even with the kiosks working smoothly. We just returned though Phoenix and it was a breeze. Every agent cubicle was fully staffed and lines moved quickly and were virtually non existent. My son-in-law returned through Minneapolis and had a similar positive experience. The number of arriving flights at the same time is obviously a huge factor, but seeing 6 agents for 1000's of travelers is the headache of approaching doom. Resulting missed flight connections snowball the mess. My daughter went through Houston this year and it only took her 1 and a half hours to get to her next gate. Ours fell in the 20-30 minute range and, except for the TSA newbie who feared our granddaughter's neck massage pig pillow was perhaps a bomb, the experience was pleasant. We were always moving. That pillow had been through several xray conveyer belts previously, but the inconvenience was not annoying because of how smoothly everything else went. That said, we did have to fly American to go through Phoenix and the Delta crews of years past were much more friendly and helpful. American charges for every bag checked internationally, by the way.
Living in Houston it is difficult to avoid it for obvious reasons however; you are spot on with your comment about insane lines at Immigration. I came back from Mexico three times in the last five months and found the lines to be endless as well particularly around 2PM when all the flights from Europe and Asia land. Thankfully we have Global Entry so we were out of Immigration and through Customs in less than five minutes I'd guess, of course with no checked luggage. When I've traveled with my golf clubs the baggage claim takes forever yet once I've got them the Global Entry exit through Customs is a breeze while all the others are waiting again.
Another tip I just learned from our friend pluto77, who on a recent trip back from Mexico through San Diego discovered she did not have Pre-Check on her connecting boarding pass thus got stuck in the regular security line and was not happy. What we figured after a few posts if you go to a kiosk after you clear CBP and print a new boarding pass it most likely will indicate Pre-Check if you usually get it and certainly with Global Entry. That may save some connection time and headaches.