If you’re part of the conspiracy and are planning to get on a commercial jet and help spread deadly chemtrails — insert laughing icon here — I bring you additional info about making your airport experience smoother.
We launched the conversation with a couple of columns about the TSA PreCheck program, which for $85 gives you five-year access to airport security’s version of the fast lane.
You can leave on your shoes, light jackets and belts and don’t have to remove your laptop from its case or show carry-on liquids.
The Akron-Canton Airport is repeating a special TSA PreCheck enrollment event it held in February because 900 people participated, far more than expected. This one will run April 18-21. To register and schedule an appointment, visit identogo.com/precheck.
And if you do a fair amount of international travel, consider paying an additional $15 for the Global Entry program, called GOES.
At participating airports, you’ll find a kiosk where you can scan your passport, answer the customs declaration and get a receipt that enables you to bypass immigration officers.
Since my first mention of GOES, more readers have weighed in.
Bob: Just my two cents, but the comment about breezing through customs with a GOES registration is wrong. Immigration clearance and customs clearance are different joys.
GOES sends you to a separate kiosk line for immigration, through which you must pass before getting to baggage pickup and then to customs (or straight to customs if you have no checked bag). It does nothing for faster customs clearance.
Yes, it indirectly gets you to the customs line faster if you have no checked bags. But if you do, you are in the same customs line as everyone else. GOES is a no goes there.
In Detroit, unless you have a nihonium or higher frequent-flyer level, most of the unwashed horde going through the non-GOES line typically end up waiting with you at baggage claim — and hence in the same customs line (which any more is not much of a line anyway).
And here’s a tip for readers coming back through DTW [Detroit]: Even if you have a TSA PreCheck, don’t waste time leaving the baggage recheck and security line downstairs to go out and up to the PreCheck line. It won’t save you any time and may actually take much longer.
Been there. Done that.
Cliff: Steve McKlem, a regional spokesman in the Chicago office of U.S. Customs and Border Control, says you’re mostly right. But he says some of the bigger cities, including Chicago, offer dedicated customs lines for GOES. Even if they don’t, he says, GOES customers are “supposed to get head-of-the-line privileges if they identify themselves as a GOES passenger.”
?WORKS IN BAHAMAS
Bob: My husband and I travel to the Bahamas, and on a recent trip, when leaving there, we had TSA PreCheck.
The Bahamas do not have PreCheck. Before people spend money for international PreCheck, they should make sure the countries they are visiting actually have PreCheck.
Another thing I found out when flying out of Akron-Canton, for people flying after 6 p.m., TSA PreCheck is closed, at least on Saturdays. So if people are taking night flights, they may want to check with the airport.
Barbe: TSA PreCheck only works in the U.S. GOES is required to speed things up for international flights.
At a handful of foreign airports — including Nassau, if that’s the one you use in the Bahamas — GOES will enable you to clear your path back into the States before you even step on the plane.
If you’re flying back from a foreign airport that doesn’t offer GOES, which is nearly all of them outside of Canada and U.S. territories, you’ll have to wait to be processed until you land at one of the 41 U.S. airports with a GOES kiosk. That list includes Cleveland, but not CAK.
As for CAK closing its PreCheck lane at 6 on Saturday nights, that’s not always the case.
CAK says the lane, which is opened and closed by the TSA, remains active during peak travel times throughout the day, seven days a week. The occasional closing periods are based on passenger volume, the departing-flight schedule and other factors.
But you are correct: At small and midsize airports, there will be periods when you will have to de-shoe and de-coat.
And we all know how painful that can be.
Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or email@example.com. He also is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bob.dyer.31.