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Delray Beach, FL, Westport, MA, United States
Undergraduate degree, Colby College; MA in teaching, Columbia Teacher's College; former high school English teacher in three states; former owner of interior design co. with advanced degree from R.I. School of Design. Published first book in 2009 titled, MINOR LEAGUE MOM: A MOTHER'S JOURNEY THROUGH THE RED SOX FARM TEAMS. Her humorous manuscript titled ELDERLY PARENTS WITH ALL THEIR MARBLES: A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR THE KIDS was published in June, 2014. In 2015 A SURVIVAL GUIDE won a gold medal in the self-help category at the Florida Authors & Publishers Association conference. See website By CLICKING HERE.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Global Entry to What?

     Charley and I looked straight ahead.  The only peripheral peeks we'd gotten were as we entered.   To our right were guys with "hoodies" pulled low over their brows and tattoos all over their forearms.  To our left were burly guys speaking Russian through gold teeth, their necks wadded with gold chains.  None of them bothered to look at us.  We were misfits.

     "Wait here, please."  The agent pointed to the first row of chairs lined up like a classroom.  No-one sat in the next seven rows.  Could that many people really be detained at once?

     Charley was seething.  A Vietnam vet and former banker, he was brought in with thugs?  I slithered my watch and wedding bands off and heard them clink inside my purse.

     "Do you believe this?  We applied for that stupid thing so we'd have NO wait getting back into this country!"

     "I don't care about the wait right now," I said.  "I just want to get out of here with my limbs attached."

     Months before, the two of us had filed Global Entry applications so we could by-pass Customs and Immigration lines after travelling abroad.  We'd sent in  $100 each and passed background checks.  No arrests, no outstanding speeding tickets.  No problem!

     We'd  gotten a notice that we were OK'ed for the next step - an interview with an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent at the nearest office, a terminal in the port of Ft. Lauderdale.  Down Interstate 95 we went.

     Easy questions, easy answers - always first responses.  If only the security questions for my online accounts were that easy!  I can't ever remember the passwords or pins and created a folder on the computer to help me.  I have to "minimize" the website I'm working on to open the folder, retrieve the necessary number of letters or numbers or combination (with or without capitals), then "optimize" again to enter my account.  By then I wish I'd  just made a phone call.

     The agent disappeared in Ft. Lauderdale, then came back and told us to stand in front of the camera.  We didn't know if that was a good or bad sign.  The photos weren't half bad, actually - nothing like our drivers'  photos.  Technology sure had improved!

     The next step was a hands-on tutorial with a duplicate of the machine that would grant us re-entry in airports.  We inserted our hands into slots like the blower in public rest rooms.  The machine read and recorded our fingerprints and stamped our passports.  We'd been cleared for landing!

     So why did we end up in a detention room at Logan Airport, while the rest of our plane went through the lines and retrieved their luggage?  Because my dear husband's fingers were TOO DRY!  Yup - the machine couldn't read his fingerprints to get a match with the database.  We'd by-passed a long line to be held up by an electronic wizard.  After forty-five minutes we were released with special instructions for Charley.  "Before you use the machine next time, you'd better put some saliva on your fingertips.  Or your wife could carry a little tube of oil.  Of course, she'll have to put it in a baggie to get through security."

     "What a waste of money," Charley kept saying.  Now we stand in line like everyone else.

     Let me hear your worst airport stories!  Write in the comment box and post. 

3 comments:

  1. My worst one involves returning from a trip to Europe in the 1980s. "Of course," the ticket agent assured us, "You can get on your flight in England instead of Stockholm where it originates." So we happily went off to visit friends in Belfast and have a quick tour of the London we loved. Arriving at Heathrow to check in with plenty of time we were told, "No. So sorry. You didn't check in in Stockholm and were cancelled off of this flight." :| Say what?

    After pleading, cajoling, crying (on my part) and the flashing of my ex-husband's FAA credentials, we finally convinced the ticket agent that we were harmless, if gullible, Americans who made the mistake of believing a ticket agent.

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  3. We also had this happen back in the 80's, Ruth. Learned the hard way we had to check in for EVERY leg of our itinerary. Back in the 70's we had to reconfirm our flights to return to this country after we'd landed overseas. Our travel companions in the Caribbean hadn't been informed to do that by their agent and ended up spending another five days in Freeport. I can think of worse places to be stranded, but the lesson was expensive!

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