Friday, January 11, 2019

Houston, I've Landed

I'm happy to report that I made it on the flight from Guadalajara to Houston. 

Once on the ground in Houston I walked four miles (I'm estimating, it could have been 22) to get to the Global Entry kiosks.  I was the only one there and did my entry and got my receipt in a couple of minutes.  Then I waited in line (yes, I was the only one there) until the BP agent decided to call me over and take my receipt.

Then I walked seven more miles (again, an estimate.  It could have been 102) past luggage claim (I only had a carry on), past customs and into an area where we were corralled to wait to go upstairs to go through TSA.  That took about 10 minutes.

Once upstairs I saw the mob of people and asked an employee for the TSA pre-check line.  "That's downstairs."  The same downstairs I just came from?  Yes.

Back downstairs I went.  I asked the lone employee allowing (or not) people to get on the escalator to TSA.  Traffic control, I assume because it was SRO in the TSA lines.  She told me to go outside, upstairs and look for the Pre-Check signs.  I did.  And they had them...randomly.

The actual answer is that Houston does not have TSA Pre-Check for passengers connecting from an international flight.  I was going outside and coming in as if I'd just arrived at the airport.

Once I finally found the Pre-Check line (after walking about another 24.6 miles) there was a problem.  It seems not all the TSA employees realized it was Pre-Check so they were letting anyone who strolled up get in line.  Finally, an enterprising young woman took charge and separated those of us who actually had Pre-Check from those who were in the wrong line.

While waiting in a line a guy behind started louding saying "This is why we need a wall.  Am I right?  We need to stop these people coming in here.  Build that wall, build that wall."  I'm not sure why he assumed a wall would help, unless he was thinking that Trump was just building one around the airport to keep anyone without TSA Pre-Check out.  It was hard but I did not respond.  No eye contact, no comment.  I believe I hurt myself by keeping it in.  The best part was as the woman started separating us the guy got really made because a bunch of people got to go ahead of him.  Because he didn't have Pre-Check and was in the wrong line.

After another 10 minutes, I was through and laughing about "wall guy".

I checked the gate monitors and saw that my flight, which didn't leave for another 3 .5 hours, was at gate E1.  Just a quick 39 miles away.

Thanks, United - I got my steps for today.

BTW, there's a sign next to one of the escalators in the Houston maze from international gates to TSA that says "Senior Citizens - do NOT use escalators.  This is for your own safety."    I used 'em anyway.  What are they going to do, take away my Global Entry status?

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