Tuesday, July 31, 2012
With Global Entry's arrival at the San Diego International Airport, trusted travelers skip the line when arriving on international flights.
A program allowing international airport travelers to get through customs faster has arrived in San Diego. It comes as Terminal 2 at Lindbergh Field is expecting a 35 percent increase in international flights this year.
The volume of international travelers has been on the rise in San Diego. U.S. Customs is expecting more than 200,000 passengers this year at Terminal 2, nearly doubling the amount of traffic as Japan Airlines and an airline serving Mexico expand service into San Diego.
"So this is a very important new piece of technology," said Chris Maston, director of field operations for Customs and Border Protection.
He said the Global Entry kiosk is designed to quickly move passengers from the gate through security. You slide your passport, get finger printed and answer a few security questions, all within 5 minutes as you checkout and get your bags.
Maston said exhaustive background checks are done on each passenger who enrolls, just like the Sentri program for U.S.-Mexico border crossers.
"We consider them trusted travelers and in exchange for that information we expedite their process through the border and we're processing most of our Sentri members within 15 minutes. Global Entry is a system with the same concept," he said.
About 180,000 people in San Diego already have a Sentri pass and there's no additional charge to get a Global Entry document. The program officially started in 2008 at a few large airports on the East Coast. San Diego becomes the 27th city to roll it out. The cost for a Global Entry pass is $100 dollars and it's good for five years at the airport and border crossings.