Global Entry kiosks seen at HOU’s international terminal unveiling in 2014
The State of New York has recently reminded all of us that it is time to either get or renew your Global Entry… and a bit at their expense. No, this isn’t a call to be opportunistic. Well, maybe a little. Hear me out…
Recently, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that New York residents are being cut off from Global Entry (both applications and renewals). “New York residents will no longer be eligible to apply for or renew membership in CBP Trusted Traveler Programs and CBP will cancel all pending Trusted Traveler Program applications submitted by residents of New York,”according to a February 6th CBP press release. “New York residents who are currently enrolled in Trusted Travel Programs will retain their benefits until their memberships expire.”
The CBP will not comment on the volume of enrollments by state, but it is safe to assume that the most populated city in the U.S., which also happens to be the world’s financial center, makes up a sizable chunk. With New York enrollment activity being placed on pause, due to political nonsense, now is the time to take advantage of short lines. Yes, this is an advantage to the rest of us. But by shifting our applications forward, we can clear the way for when New York is again approved. Short lines for us now, and a slightly better experience for our New York friends, when their pent-up demand rolls in. Win-win for everyone! Sort of… given the situation anyhow.
As a known-traveler you won’t need to use the recombobulation area just past the TSA checkpoint at Milwaukee’s General Mitchell airport. – Photo: Lynn Friedman (Creative Commons)
without applying!” This is a totally valid argument: Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? In 2014, I wrote about why applying for Pre✓
is a waste of time and money. And I stand by that to this day. Pre✓
is $85 for a five-year membership. GE is an extra $15 (just $3 more per year) and you get Pre✓
plus expedited passage through U.S. customs. This expedited entry works not just at airports, but also border crossings, and sea ports of entry… if boats are your sort of thing (#BoatReporter).
Even if you don’t have plans to travel abroad, wouldn’t it be nice to have Global Entry setup in the event an opportunity presented itself? I mentioned above that Global Entry works for border crossings as well. I was surprised how often I ended up using my membership to re-enter the U.S. from quick trips to Canada and Mexico. For me, I’d pay $15 to skip the line with just one crossing, so the extra cost has more than paid for itself in my first four years of membership.
Real ID Poster for Washington D.C. – Image: TSA
It’s REAL ID-compliant:
Global Entry comes with a government-issued REAL ID card, something Pre✓
doesn’t offer. Don’t know what a REAL ID is? Take a moment to find your driver’s license or state-issued ID. Is there a star near the upper right-hand corner? If yes, you’re good. Washington state folks, you guys are special [gosh darn right we are –David]. If your license reads “Enhanced” you’ve made the cut. If neither applies, you’re going to need to use an alternate ID or obtain a REAL ID.
The TSA claims that travelers without a REAL ID will not be approved through screening starting October 1, 2020. The federal law requiring that states issue REAL IDs to “preserve national security” was passed in 2005. Amazingly, some states and territories have taken over fifteen years to comply.
And while most states are compliant today, that doesn’t mean already-issued licenses will work. My home state of Missouri, for example, only recently implemented a voluntary REAL ID license option. Here in the “Show-Me State,” anyone who received their license prior to March 25, 2019 has a non-compliant ID. And if they want to fly on a plane and don’t have an alternative, they will need to visit the DMV less than two years after renewing their six-year license to specifically request a REAL ID-compliant version.
SPOILER ALERT: Missourians (and others) are going to cause major headaches at airport screening points across the nation this October if TSA stands by their highly-delayed deadline.
Global Entry – Image: Josh Denmark | US Customs & Boarder Patrol
Applying for Global Entry
So, have I convinced you? Great! Here’s the deal: Applicants fill out an online form, confirm a bunch of personal data, pay $100, consent to a rigorous multi-agency background check, willingly hand over their biometric data, and are subject to an in-person interview with a CBP agent. When reading it all together like that, it might seem a bit overwhelming, but trust me — it is not a difficult process. Once that’s done (and assuming you pass – most do) you’ll get a shiny new ID along with the coveted KTN or known traveler number.
Renewing Global Entry
Current Global Entry members can apply for renewal up to one year before their expiration date, and there is no penalty for applying early. If approved, five additional years are bolted onto your current expiration date. Remember your GOES login detail (or even what that is)? No? Good! That system is dead and you have to start from scratch. Click here, then click login and agree to the government’s crazy terms by clicking consent and continue. Here you’ll be informed that GOES is out, and Login.Gov is in. Create a new login and the process is familiar and intuitive from there out.
Get through security faster = you have more time to look at your airplane at the gate. United doesn’t fly the 747 anyhow, but bet you wished you spent more time just staring at them!
I applied for renewal and received my new card 8 days later
Apparently not all renewals require an in-person interview. How did I find out? I applied for renewal on a Friday night, received an approval e-mail Monday, and my new card was in my mailbox that Saturday. Cool!
If you travel even semi-regularly, Global Entry is the way to go, even if only to receive the Pre✓
benefit. And the convenience of Global Entry when arriving back to The States even just once over five years is easily worth the extra $15. And with what happened in New York, who knows if it might happen elsewhere. Take advantage of the short lines now!
NOTE: This is not a promoted post, I just really believe this is such a great product. Additionally, some “premium” credit cards, the ones with crazy high annual fees, and names involving precious metals and gems often cover Global Entry fees. We don’t get any kickbacks from the cards either, just trying to save you a few bucks.
United has eight different airlines flying under the United Express banner owned by seven different companies. Does it really need all of those? Probably not; so it’s good to see that United will simplify a couple operations and remove one entirely. Trans States will go away toward the end of …
Long before the coronavirus decimated travel to China, HNA Group was in trouble. It had overspent not just on airlines, but on a variety of companies all over the world. The coronavirus just made things worse for the teetering conglomerate, and now it appears that the end may be near. …
What do you get when you combine writing about airline travel since 2008, with a few decades of being a sarcastic chap? Unsolicited Travel Advice from David (the Editor-in-Chief of this dog and pony show) — that’s what! There are way too many travel-related click-bait stories out there that give you boring and questionable information from “experts”. This series will be different — I will give you entertaining, possibly less questionable information, while not caring about any sort of clicks or bait. Let me set the mood. Imagine that you and I are hanging out, when we have just hit upon an interesting airline/travel topic (safest airline seats) and I am fired up and ready to spew my thoughts and opinions. When I wrap up, I am hoping that you won’t just awkwardly stare at me, but instead continue the conversation in the comments. Let’s do this…
Omg, omg, omg, which seat should I sit in? I want to live, damn it!
Series Post #1: WHERE IS THE SAFEST PLACE TO SIT ON THE PLANE?
This question always gets me riled up. If you don’t want to read this whole story, let me save you the time: It does not matter what airline seat you choose. It really, really does not matter. But that doesn’t stop so many others from telling you that a wrong choice in seat could cost you your life! (dun dun DUNNN)
The anecdotal thoughts on the topic are my favorite. “First class is safest, since the airline wants to save the rich.” Interesting…I have heard the opposite as well. “Sit over the wings, that’s the strongest part of the plane.” Of course there are huge fuel tanks located there too. “Sit in back, so you’ll be last to hit the ground, and just jump right before impact.” No joke, someone suggested that once to me and my dad, who happens to not only a pilot, but also a physicist. He was super nice about it, but it was fun conversation.
Anyhow, I wanted to find some actual data that people were using for their conclusions, and what better place to look than the internet? I found a few sites that had some good ol’ fashion data (just the way I like it). However, was this going to be good data (like Data) or bad data (like Lore)? [any Trekkies out there? If not, don’t worry, the Data/Lore joke isn’t that great anyhow]
Keep reading, because what I found will shock you to your core!!! (not really, I am just trying some of the “click bait” stuff, but keep reading, I think my best stuff is yet to come)
An old Boeing 757 fuselage mock-up, used for emergency training in Seattle. There is no safe seat here!
THE SCARY DATA TO MAKE YOU CHOOSE THE SAFEST SEAT!
I first reviewed a Popular Mechanics article and it seemed we might be on the same page. The author wrote, “The funny thing about all those expert opinions: They’re not really based on hard data about actual airline accidents.” Talking my language… making fun of “experts” and saying we need some data. Using National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) files, they found data for 20 accidents that had been “languishing for decades …waiting to be analyzed by anyone curious enough to look and willing to do the statistical drudgework.” Yup, they actually said that. Brilliant… what troopers! So, what did they find? In 11 of the 20 crashes, people in the rear did better, five had folks up front faring best, and the last three… they were “tossups.” Whatever that means.
Time Magazine got a bit more detailed with their conclusion: “Statistics show that the middle seats in the rear of an aircraft historically have the highest survival rates.” They used a whopping 17 crashes to not only find the safest section of the plane, but also the seat! Color me impressed.
The Aviation Safety Network analyzed about 280 airline incidents, but only 70 had viable data. 39 accidents revealed that the rear was the safest, 25 showed the center, and 32 showed the front. You math whizzes might realize that the numbers don’t add up, if there was an accident and passengers survived pretty well in more than one section, they counted both.
If things get bad, always stay calm and follow instructions. That will more likely save you than your seat assignment. And please, PLEASE, leave your bag behind!
THE REALITY & REAL TIPS ON INCREASING YOUR SAFETY
I find it impossible to make a claim about the safest place to sit on an airliner. When so little data is used – and people look at the data very differently – there are so many complex variables that go into an airline crash. No airline accident is simple and it typically takes a number of catastrophic failures for people to lose their lives.
If you actually want to be safer on your next flight, these tips can actually save your life (and it doesn’t matter where you’re seated):
If something goes down, stay calm and listen to the flight attendants.
Actually pay attention to the safety briefing, look for the nearest exits, and take a look at that safety card.
For the love of god, leave your luggage on the plane, if you have to evacuate.
Maybe just stay home and watch airplane videos instead (or Star Trek).
Of course some might argue the left front seat might be the safest seat, since you have the most control. However… not the case when I am in the seat!
TIME TO WRAP IT UP, DAVID
I am not statistician. I am not an airline crash expert. But I am going to go ahead and say with great confidence that this safest airline seat stuff is a bunch of horse crap! Sit where you want, and have a great flight. No matter what seat you choose, the stats overwhelmingly say that you will be super safe!
Okay, I am done with my semi-rant and ready to hear your thoughts. Do you think that the rear of an airliner is the safest? Does this sort of data sway your seat decisions? Have you heard other fun reasons why you should sit in one seat vs another? Have you watched the new Picard show… is it any good? Let’s start a conversation in the comments!
The new members are Christian Ramsey, President of uAvionix Corp., headquartered in Bigfork, MT, and Lee Moak, founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Moak Group in Washington, D.C. They were appointed on February 5, 2020.
The DAC is a broad-based, long-term federal advisory committee that provides the FAA advice on key unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) integration issues by helping to identify challenges and prioritize improvements. The committee helps to create broad support for an overall integration strategy and vision.
Members of the DAC are executives who represent a variety of UAS interests, including industry, research, academia, retail, technology and state and local government.
The DAC is chartered to have up to 35 members. Twelve members were previously added to the DAC on May 20, 2019, to fill open vacancies.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the general aviation (GA) communitys national #FlySafe campaign helps educate GA pilots about safety, including loss of control (LOC), powerplant failure, and controlled flight into terrain (CFIT).
Stay safe! Thisserieswill show you how you can incorporate safety into every flight.
What Is Mountain Flying? Flying over mountains can offer beautiful scenery and views you just cant get from the ground. Whether its the Sierra Nevadas, the Rockies, or the Appalachians, mountain flying is often an unforgettable experience. However, keep in mind that mountain flying also involves more risks than flying over the flatlands.
Flying in mountainous areas is challenging, not only because operational altitudes and winds are higher, but also because weather reporting and off-airport landing opportunities are fewer than in other flight environments. Thus, while there are fewer accidents in mountainous areas than in the flatlands, mountain flying accidents are more likely to result in fatalities.
Keep in mind also that the conditions of mountain flying can be found in many areas that are considered to be non-mountainous. For example, density altitudes over 8,500 feet can be found over the eastern plains of Colorado in the summer. Mechanical turbulence and even mountain waves can be found in areas that arent considered to be mountainous.
Know Before You Go Mountain flying is precise flying, and its made safer by using every available clue about the weather and the terrain. While all flying involves risk, mountain flying brings even more challenges. You need to be on your toes, think quickly, and weigh your options. You will need to fully understand your abilities as a pilot, and the limitations of your aircraft.
For starters, its essential that you attend a recognized mountain flying course, which is a good first step in giving you the knowledge and skills you will need. Contact your local FAA Safety Team (FAASTeam Rep) or an FAA Flight Standards District Office for references.
A good rule of thumb is to have about 150 hours of pilot-in-command time under your belt before you take mountain training. These hours will give you the experience you need to be familiar and comfortable with your aircraft. Youll also have gained greater experience with flight planning.
Mountain flying can stretch your abilities to fly the airplane proficiently as you navigate and confront weather challenges. There are many dos and donts of mountain flying, and its important that you take the time to understand all of them.
Dont allow yourself to be pressured into completing a flight. Mountain flying requires you to think clearly and evaluate quickly. Understand your aircraft, and know how to read the weather.
Dont fly too close to rough terrain or cliffs, even for that perfect picture.
Dont fail to recognize that air, although invisible, acts like water and will flow along the contours of the mountains and valleys. Visualize where the wind is coming from, and imagine what water would do in the same situation.
Do recognize that frost and air density are real threats with mountain flying. Understand how they both could affect your aircrafts performance.
Do ensure your aircraft is properly fueled and that you have survival equipment onboard.
Dont be too proud to check with experienced mountain pilots when you have a question.
Do consider a training course! Training is essential to fully understand all the challenges with mountain flying.
The Final Word Fly regularly with a flight instructor who will challenge you to review what you know, explore new horizons, and to always do our best.
Be sure to document your achievement in the WINGS Proficiency Program. Its a great way to stay on top of your game and keep your flight review current.
Did you know? Loss of Control happens in all phases of flight.It can happen anywhere and at any time.
There is an average of one fatal accident involving Loss of Control every four days.
Curious about FAA regulations (Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations)? Its a good idea to stay on top of them. You can find current FAA regulations on this website.
TheFAASafety.govwebsite has Notices, FAAST Blasts, online courses, webinars, and more on key general aviation safety topics.
TheWINGS Pilot Proficiency Programhelps pilots build an educational curriculum suitable for their unique flight requirements. It is based on the premise that pilots who maintain currency and proficiency in the basics of flight will enjoy a safer and more stress-free flying experience.
TheGeneral Aviation Joint Steering Committee (GAJSC)is comprised of government and industry experts who work together to use data to identify risk, pinpoint trends through root cause analysis, and develop safety strategies to reduce the risk of GA accidents. The GAJSC combines the expertise of many key decision makers in the FAA, several government agencies such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and stakeholder groups. Industry participants include the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Experimental Aircraft Association, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association, National Business Aviation Association, National Air Transportation Association, National Association of Flight Instructors, Society of Aviation and Flight Educators, and the aviation insurance industry. The National Transportation Safety Board and the European Aviation Safety Agency participate as observers.
After our stay at the TWA Hotel at JFK, it was time to go home. Fortunately — unlike on the way out when we flew into Newark — this time we were flying home from JFK so we didn’t have far to go. We opted to take a mid-day flight …