Last Friday, I headed to JFK Airport but it wasn’t for a flight. Kim and Lucas had their Global Entry interviews scheduled.
While I was expecting some sort of wait, the process went smoothly and we were in and out in very little time.
Due to some wise thinking by Kim, we didn’t only save some time, we also saved $16 during the process.
Whenever we fly out of JFK on trips of around five days (give or take), I’ll drive to Howard Beach. I park my car for free on the streets and then hop on the AirTrain to get to the airport. (For those of you that don’t know, a ride on the AirTrain costs $5 per person.)
By doing this, it costs me $10 per person to get to the airport (not including gas etc.). A cab could cost $30 or more, one way from home, so driving to Howard Beach when going to JFK coud easily save me $50 or more!
The original plan was for me to drive to Howard Beach (as usual) and take the AirTrain to the airport for the interviews. Besides gas, the cost of this trip would be $20 for Kim and I with Lucas riding for free.
We were running late so Kim suggested that we consider driving to the airport and parking there to save some time.
I guessed that we would only need around an hour at the airport so parking close to the terminal would be a great option to consider and one that might even save us some cash.
As we drove towards JFK, Kim looked up the short-term parking prices and they actually seemed to be pretty reasonable.
Here are the airport parking costs:
When parking at JFK, you are charged in half hour increments. A half hour costs $4, an hour $8 etc. I figured worst case, we’d get stuck for an hour and a half at the airport, having to pay $12 to park. This would still be close to half the price opposed to taking the AirTrain.
When we went inside the Global Entry office I was happily surprised to see only one family (mom w/ 2 daughters) waiting to get helped. Two of the three were called a moment later while I took out a magazine to read.
Then one of the CBP officers called Kim and Lucas’ name and it was time for the interview. My guess is that we waited less than five minutes! Wow, quick!
The interview went fast, Kim and Lucas took their photos and gave fingerprints. The only questions asked were confirmation of e-mail, home address and if they had been to Canada or Mexico recently… Soon after they got their Pass ID #. The ID cards would come by mail but we were good to go.
I then realized that if we hurried back to my car, we could probably get out of the parking lot in under a half hour.
We got to my car with 3-4 minutes to go.
I rushed to get Lucas’ stroller in the trunk while Kim got him in his carseat.
I got to the exit and slipped the ticket in to pay. Well what do you know, I made it! Parking at JFK cost me only $4!
Even more impressive was that we made it into the parking lot, through the Global Entry interviews and out in under 30 minutes!
While I’ve had Global Entry for close to two years I’ve never used it since Kim and Lucas didn’t have it. When we found out that the Citi AA Executive Card was now offering a Global Entry Fee Credit, I signed them both up- Kim with her Exec card and Lucas, paying with mine.
In addition, we now all qualitfy for TSA PreCheck, so when we fly on participating airlines out of the US we get expedited screening benefits (leaving on shoes, jackets, belts etc..) With Global Entry, we get to skip those long lines at immigration and go right to the kiosk. I think most people that pay for Global Entry are business travellers, but it sounds great for families too!
If you don’t have Global Entry & want to apply or find out more, you can do so here.