Living Life on the Edge - Airport Arrival Times
I almost played myself this morning. Let me tell y’all what happened.
This weekend I took a trip to Toronto with my dear friend and we had a blast. I’ll tell you about the trip later.
Last night I was calculating what time I should leave the condo to make it to the airport with enough time to get through security but not have to wasting time sitting at the gate. Here’s the components of my equation:
The flight departed at 9:35am,
I’m not checking bags,
I have TSA pre-flight,
I checked in yesterday,
The condo is 23 mins from the airport,
Uber was 3-5 mins away all weekend, and
I hate sitting at the gate.
So, I rationalize that if I leave at 7:30, I’ll be good 🤔. Here’s the first issue. Canadians don’t do Memorial Day so everyone was moving around as usual which meant morning rush hour traffic. That 23 min drive was more like 37 mins. I’m still good though, I arrive at the airport at 8:07am and boarding begins at 8:55am. No problem.
I exit the Uber, gather my belongings and sashay to the security line with passport and mobile boarding pass in hand. As I approach, I realize that there’s a entry way….but the line to enter is wrapped around the outside of the security area and there’s 490520394878947 people ahead of me….not to mention the people who had already passed through. AND since I’m in Canada…..there is no TSA Precheck line 🤦♀️.
This is where I start to feel sweat pooling in my armpits.
Just as I was developing a strategy to skip everyone in the line, I see the Global Entry sign, like a beacon of hope, at the end of the long hallway. There’s an arrow pointing to a narrow door to the left. I dipped into the doorway and tell the lady, I have Global Entry! What do I need to show you?! I was excited so I think I yelled(This conversation could be an exception to a hearsay objection in trial). She asks for my Global Entry Card (I take it with me everywhere so I know its in my wallet). I step over to the side to locate my card…flash it at the lady and walk right on through.
I’m through security in 7 mins. No biggie. On the other side of the x-ray machine, I’m putting my laptop back in my back pack and a lady approaches me to survey my experience with security. She asks me my boarding time. I say 8:55am and she looks at her watch, grabs her chest and says ohhhhhhh nooooooooooooooooo with an African accent (loosely translated, you trippin, sis)…..I thought I had given her a heart attack. We laughed and I went about my way. Needless to say, I had a very positive experience with security today. Please and thank you.
I’m feeling good now. God was looking out for me. I’ve got a little extra pep in my step, right? It’s gonna be a good day! I look down at my watch….8:27am. I’m super straight.
I round the corner but because I was looking at my watch I didn’t notice the customs line……..the exceptionally long customs line ahead of me #$!#!#$@%#^#. I had already put my passport away and everything. Got too cocky.
Low and Behold…..ANOTHER GLOBAL ENTRY SIGN! Whew, chile. I can skip all these people! I walk over to the kiosk and zip through the prompts on the screen but then the machine prints a blank receipt (sidenote: the kiosk informed me that my membership expires in 11 days…can you imagine if I had been trying to this two weeks from now?). I tell the agent but she directs me to the next agent anyway. When I approach the booth where you get your stamp, the guy is like…um this is blank. “Sir, I know that. I just told homegirl back there and she sent me to you” Then he had to ask someone else what to do….ask me which machine it was….ask for a tuna melt on rye. He pointed me to the line where everyone else was and I could feel my eyes get big. He’s like, “No, just go to the front of the line”…bet. My blood pressure went back down.
Customs agent dude calls me up and we exchange niceties. Then he wants to know how a girl from Texas got a French name……………..sir, give it a rest. I have to go. I gave him a little giggle because I figured this was his best material and didn’t want to disappoint him. Since I recently had to replace my passport, I didn’t have to endure the suspense of whether or not he would find a blank page. He stamped the first page and I nearly snatched the book out his hand. Now it’s 8:40.
So I walk towards the gates, finally. I follow the signs to gates A11-A20 and hope that gate A12 is not at the end of the terminal…….it wasn’t, amen.
Long story short - INVEST IN GLOBAL ENTRY! It’s literally the best money I’ve ever spent.
I bet you thought I was gonna say make sure you get to the airport early enough, huh? Nope. But I will say, at least give yourself enough time to go through all the motions. I forgot about immigration/customs stuff so I didn’t factor that into my equation. Also, I think all airports should have security wait times on their websites. The Toronto airport website does not have that. They need it.