Thursday, August 18, 2011

Great News From.......TSA?

OMG. I never thought I'd commit this phrase to electrons, but my email inbox contained great news today from the Transportation Security Administration and Customs & Border Protection.

I'm not making this up.

As you know from some of my previous posts, a few years back I applied to CBP for NEXUS and GLOBAL ENTRY status. I went through the interviewing process, submitted my biometric information, and passed. And let me tell you, dear readers, it has been the greatest thing since sliced bread. I average about 15-20 border crossings per year, and I breeze through US and Canadian Customs via a biometric kiosk in 15 seconds, no matter which port of entry I am using and regardless of how long the line is. At the end of a long trip or the start of a long day traveling, it is simply wonderful. Canada has become my favorite destination, because I can use the kiosk going both ways.

Nothing makes my day more than flying home from Calgary (YYC), where the early-morning Customs line is never less than 45 minutes. I breeze through in 15 seconds. Like clockwork.

Now, it looks like TSA and CBP are cooperating (image that - cooperation within the US government) to expand this program to TSA screening. Pretty soon, a biometric kiosk will replace the strip-search-and-radiate-in-bare-feet process at select US airports.

I have 3,000,000 lifetime miles on AA and always have access to the "priority" TSA lines at domestic airports. Nevertheless, the process still sucks. Priority lines mean it just sucks a little less for me than for most people. I stand there and roll my eyes at all the clueless Ma & Pa Kettles, who fly twice a year, as they futz around with their their baby strollers, their backpacks, their bottles of water, their car keys, their jewelry, their snotty little kids' Gameboys. FUCKING DUH! Can't you read? This occurs just after a barely literate cretin, who most likely was recently was fired from a job flipping burgers, scrutinizes my Nexus card or passport with a flashlight to determine whether I even qualify to be searched.

Can you just IMAGINE how otherworldly awesome it is going to be when I can walk past all the queueing Kettles and the Barney Fifes, slap my hand down on a fingerprint scanner or shove my face into a retinal scanner, and be on my way in 15 seconds?

Oh. My. Gawd.

But I can temper my excitement by contemplating the prospect of still having to go through Heathrow a few times per year.

We are pleased to announce that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is partnering with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on a new Department of Homeland Security initiative announced July 14, 2011, that qualifies some passengers for expedited screening through U.S. airport security checkpoints.

This pilot program will be available to U.S. citizens who are members of CBP’s Global Entry, NEXUS, and SENTRI Trusted Traveler programs. The pilot program will provide expedited screening through TSA checkpoints via dedicated screening lanes.

The United States government. Love those guys.

Love 'em.

No comments: