The US Wants More Preclearance Facilities, But Not Everyone Will Like This

In theory, US customs and immigration preclearance is one of those things that sounds great for everyone involved. So when the feds announced a desire to add 10 more preclearance facilities to the 15 that exist today, everyone should be jumping up and down with joy, right? For some, that’s true. But there are others who won’t like this.

Preclearance Precrime

The plan now is to “enter into negotiations” with ten foreign airports to build preclearance facilities. Those are Brussels, Punta Cana, Tokyo/Narita, Amsterdam, Oslo, Madrid, Stockholm, Istanbul, London/Heathrow, and Manchester (UK). This will be in addition to the facilities that exist in most major Canadian and Irish cities along with many Caribbean destinations. The most recent member of the club is Abu Dhabi, and that has been having some real operational issues.

These facilities need to be good-sized rooms where people can clear US customs and immigration. Then there have to be sterile gate areas that don’t allow exit back into the country. After all, you might be on the ground in Dublin, but once you go through US customs and immigration, you’re officially in the US. The upside to this is that you get to arrive just like a domestic passenger in the US and can just walk into the gate area like someone off a domestic arrival. But the downside is you have to get to your departure airport much earlier in order to clear customs and immigration in advance.

Thinking about what’s involved, it’s really hard to imagine how a place like Heathrow could even fathom having a facility like this. There are flights to the US departing from four separate terminals today, and it’s not like there’s a ton of space to just go and build a bunch of preclearance facilities there. But the US certainly wants to try.

From a government perspective, this is great. It’s far more preferable to catch a bad guy before he arrives on US soil. Just turn him away at the door and then you can wash your hands clean. If he’s physically in the US already, it’s a more complex problem. It also gives homeland security a reason to put more people in strategic locations around the world. Lots of intelligence-gathering opportunities out there….

For travelers, the basic idea of preclearance sounds great, but it’s better for some than others. For foreigners traveling to the US, for example, in theory there should be shorter lines at the preclearance facility than in US airports. But you hear these stories about Abu Dhabi delays and maybe that’s not true.

For US nationals, especially those with Global Entry, there are almost no lines anyway. If your trip ends at the first point of entry in the US, then there isn’t much benefit to be had. But if you are connecting, then it gets more interesting. Sure you’d have to get to the preclearance airport a bit earlier, but you’ll also have shorter connections once in the US. And in poorly-designed places like Chicago/O’Hare, the benefit is even greater.

A textbook example of how great preclearance can be involves O’Hare. Let’s say you’re flying from London to Oklahoma City on American via Chicago. You’ll have to land at Terminal 5, clear immigration, claim your bags, clear customs, re-check your bags, go to Terminal 3, reclear security, and then find your gate. Fun, right?

But if you’re going from Dublin to Oklahoma City via Chicago, preclearance is in effect. You’ll have to arrive earlier in Dublin because you’ll go through US customs and immigration there. But once you’re through, then it’s smooth-sailing. Your flight will land right into Terminal 3 at O’Hare and you walk off as if you’re on a domestic flight. Then you can walk to the next gate for your connection.

That’s a great scenario. But where it gets more challenging is when connections from beyond the preclearance facility come into play. For example, think about Amsterdam.

KLM’s big hub bank for flights to the US is in the early morning. Look at someone going from Lisbon to LA. This summer, the flight leaves from Lisbon at 5a and arrives Amsterdam at 9a. The flight to LA leaves at 950a and then arrives 1145a. That 50 minute connection is doable today, but it won’t be doable if there’s a preclearance facility. It’s hard to imagine KLM is going to move that Lisbon flight to go any earlier. The airline will either need to push its flight to LA later (which has a ripple effect on the return) or there will no longer be a valid connection to that early flight.

You can walk through every different kind of scenario. Sometimes people will like the result, and sometimes they won’t. But pleasing the traveler isn’t really the point of these facilities anyway as far as the feds are concerned.

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62 Responses to The US Wants More Preclearance Facilities, But Not Everyone Will Like This

  1. Tom says:

    My main experiences with preclearance are Canada and Aruba. Everything about customs/immigration/CATSA is miserable in Canada. So preclearance is just one Act in the overall miserable production. Aruba is fine unless you leave in the afternoon and then the whole production is a nightmare. Long long lines and multiple trips through security where precheck isn’t even an option like it is for many if you clear stateside. They finally got global entry machines there but they won’t let those with global entry use them until you’ve waited in the long line to get in to the immigration and customs area which all but defeats the purpose time wise. I’m glad that I don’t use a lot of the airports they’re talking about with this expansion. I’ll stick to CDG, FRA, and MUC.

    • MS says:

      Do other pre-clear stations have Global Entry? I have not seen it and it seems like it is a big negative if there are no Global Entry machines in pre-clear, and last time I went through one (maybe BDA?) they didn’t have any.

      • Shane says:

        Toronto has Global Entry, but you can only use it if you have your GE card that gives Nexus access. I was told that it is considered a land crossing, hence the need for the card.

  2. Neil S. says:

    My only experiences with pre-Clearance are in Canada (YYZ, YVR, YUL) and I’ve never had terrible lines or issues. I believe what Tom, above, is saying but the point is YMMV.

    I’m with you Cranky on the connection thing. I know a lot of those airports are mainly O&D, but a few – LHR, AMS, NRT – are major hubs, and it’s all well and good that the DHS doesn’t care, but I’m going to find other flight options home if there’s no connection. My main goal, especially for work travel, is getting there and getting back – pre-clearance is nice but not if it hampers getting home by a lot of time.

    And yes, I have GE and Nexus, so none of this really matters to me anymore, but to a lot it will.

    Also – how many airports, like JFK T4, have the kiosks for non-GE people that are basically GE? Wouldn’t more of those be a better answer, so people once home can get through quicker?

    • A says:

      Second. My experience is only in Canadian airports. While I don’t have Nexus or Global Entry I’ve had the displeasure of being in EXTREMELY long (and slow) lines at YYZ & YUL. On one occasion I missed my flight at YYZ due to a delay at passport control. As I’ve always said, I’d much rather miss my connection at a hub on American soil where I have options. Hubs like ORD or ATL have one heck of a lot more flights to my home airport. That piece of mind is worth a lot to me.

    • Alex Hill says:

      PHL has the non-GE kiosks. I was not impressed, flying in on Memorial Day. I have GE but was traveling with my non-GE family, so we went together through the kiosks. US citizens had to use the kiosks, and there was a 10+ minute line just to get to the kiosks (of which there were at least 20). Then there was *another* 10 minute line to talk to a CBP agent after the kiosk (which is still required, unlike GE). Then get bags. (At least the bags were out by this time). Then finally one more line (a few minutes) for Customs before finally being done with the whole mess.

      So they’re apparently (and unsurprisingly) using the kiosks for no good reason, except possibly to reduce staffing without harming the lines too much relative to what they used to be. But if the post-kiosk Immigration interview was any quicker than pre-kiosk interviews, I didn’t notice it. The agent carefully inspected the dozens of stamps in each of our passports, asked us questions about our trip, etc. The agents doing the Immigration interviews didn’t have computer terminals, so the computer check must have been handled by the kiosk; some passengers got orange slips from the kiosk that got them whisked off to a different line with Immigration agents with computer kiosks.

    • Neil S – The APC (Automated Passport Control) machines are rolling out in a lot of places. I saw them at LAX on Saturday as I was walking over to the Global Entry line. They seem to work well, but the biggest issue is customs. At LAX, the customs lines are crazy, but Global Entry members bypass it. That doesn’t happen if you use the APC. My guess is other airports may have different bottleneck points.

  3. Grichard says:

    When the US puts a preclearance facility in a foreign airport, are all flights that travel from that airport to the US then obliged to use it?

    • ed says:

      No. The pre-clearance facility in Dublin for example is only open for certain hours of the day, so if you have a serious delay on your flight you won’t be pre-cleared.

      • Nathan says:

        This is also true in Canada. I had a red-eye from Vancouver to Houston and our flight was not pre cleared since the station was closed.

      • Grichard says:

        Thanks for the clarification.

        What I’m really getting at, though, is the issue of inward connections at European hubs. Take the example of the flights that CF mentioned. Could KLM just decide not to have its bank of westbound TATL flights pre-cleared, even if the hypothetical preclearance station was open?

        • ed.jacob says:

          Yes – I believe it is optional. Some years back when pre-clearance was in it’s infancy in Dublin, one of the T/A carriers elected NOT to use pre-clearance because of congestion / delays etc. I can’t recall who opted out. But, yes – you can opt out

          • ed.jacob – You sure about that? I always thought that if the preclearance facility was open, then airlines had to use it. But I don’t have proof of that being true, so…

  4. ed says:

    Slight correction – your scenario to show how easy it is to fly from Dublin to Chicago / O’Hare to Oklahoma City only applies if you are flying on AA or UA. If you take EI, you still arrive at T-5 (International terminal) but exit as a domestic passenger. While your bag is transferred just like a domestic transfer (which it is) you still have to exit the terminal, take the tram to T-1, or T-3 and go through security all over again.

    Regarding the principal of pre-clearance – the other advantage which will be interesting to see, will be for a LCC to utilize Shannon, which is far more under-utilized than most airports and offer direct service to secondary airports around the U.S. Dublin is close to maximum capacity at times of the day, both in the pre-clearance facility and as an airport. Shannon generally has better weather, far less traffic and longer runways.

    Interesting to watch!

    • ed – Yes, sorry about that. I said American in the first example meaning it would apply to both scenarios. I suppose I should have said that again. Of course, Aer Lingus at JFK today has passengers walk right off the airplane and into JetBlue’s terminal for connections. (That won’t last long…) It all depends on how the airport is arranged, but the point is you’re treated like a domestic passenger.

      Shannon already has preclearance and nobody is using it for LCC service to the US yet. That’s because nobody lives in Shannon. (Once the government stopped requiring EI to use both airports, nearly all Transatlantic service from Shannon disappeared.)

  5. Miss Informed says:

    I assume the nature of the discussions between CBP and the foreign governments involved, in some cases, will be on the level of “do you think *future* traffic will make a preclearance facility useful.” Some of the proposed cities are no-brainers, such as London, but Oslo? Stockholm? Take a look at the lists of airlines/destinations for each airport on Wikipedia, and tell me who is going to be the greatest beneficiary of the advantages that preclearance provides vs. who is going to pay for the facilities. I foresee a much bigger battle on the horizon than there was over the Abu Dhabi facility.

    • Maarten says:

      I think Oslo and Stockholm are included for the oil flights between the US and the Nordic oil fields. I have Global Entry so the issue is somewhat mute for me. I have experienced pre-clearance in Canada and Dublin prior to Global Entry and found it pleasant and smooth each time. No lines, no waits, etc. I flew to NY JFK or Newark each time and was fine.

      I wonder if this solution does not cost an enormous amount more to the tax payer: moving and housing qualified personnel overseas must be more expensive than having them here in minimal wage? Or do the host countries subsidize in order to get pre-clearance?

      • OhioExile says:

        According to the CBP Preclearance Expansion Document (http://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Final%20Preclearance%20Guidance_092014.pdf), it looks like foreign airports/ host countries will be paying. Direct quote, page 7: “CBP preclearance operations are not provided free of charge; airports are required to reimburse CBP for preclearance operational expenses to the maximum extent allowed by law.”

        • Oliver says:

          So why would, say, Oslo be interested in funding the jobs for a bunch of American security personnel and and over precious airport space?

          • CF says:

            Oliver – Good question. I guess I could think of a couple reasons. One, airports may be fooled into thinking this will be a boon for their efforts to get more US service. Oslo is a connecting hub for SAS and Norwegian (to some extent), so maybe they think that preclearance will be enough to push them over the edge. Or maybe it has nothing to do with the airport. It could be more about country relationships, defense, etc. I really don’t know the answer. Just trying to come up with ideas.

    • Miss Informed – I think beyond just local demand, the US is also looking for places where there’s a higher likelihood of terrorist flow. I have no idea if Oslo and Stockholm fall into that category, but it’s probably a consideration.

  6. JT says:

    I think your totally wrong that a GE person doesn’t care about preclearance. If you have US connections, you have more valid options if you preclear, as well as your Chicago example of possible domestic terminal. Also your bags you don’t have to grab and recheck. Huge difference.

    • JT – I said “If your trip ends at the first point of entry in the US, then there isn’t much benefit to be had.” So I’m not talking about people who need to connect.

  7. Mark R says:

    I mixed on this one as well. In my experience, I’ve only been to Mexico, Ecuador, and Peru. It’s bad enough NOW leaving from those countries, especially when there’s a lot of departures at one time.
    Once I flew GYE – LIM. That’s only an hour and half flight, but I had to get to the airport 3 hours before my flight and the line was so long in immigration to LEAVE the country, that I STILL about missed my flight.
    I can’t imagine if the US got involved. Wouldn’t you still have to exit the country, then go through US pre-clearance? I’m all about saving time once on the ground in the US, but I think I like my chances more on US soil instead of on foreign one.

    • Mark R – Yes, you would have to exit the country, go into no man’s land, and then enter the US. It’s a lot of hoops to jump through in one place.

  8. Dee says:

    I use this service in Canada once in awhile and frequently from Dublin. It is spectacular. I have never waited in a line more than a few minutes and it is well worth the ease when arriving in the US. I am usually on AA and they are inevitably late getting back so this has been a life safer in making my connection many times. It also makes the bag transfer much simpler. On top of all that whatever hassles you have getting through preclearance are at the start of the trip when you are fresher than after eight or ten hours in the air. Anything to avoid having to go back through the US security after clearing US customs in the US is an absolute godsend.

    Just because this is hard to do at some places doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. It works great and it needs to be expanded.

  9. David SF eastbay says:

    Still won’t stop someone at a foreign airport from entering the sterile area and getting on the flight. Also this just costs the American tax payer more since there still needs to be customs in the USA so we pay more taxes just so some people can walk off a plane in the USA as a domestic passenger, big deal.

    • Axelsarkiss says:

      The program doesn’t cost the taxpayer anything (other than overhead, I’d guess) — as far as I know, the host country/airport fund CBP’s presence.

      As always, it’s the flying public that ends up paying.

  10. Dan says:

    This will hurt carriers like Virgin-Atlantic and British Airways, who have a wonderful Heathrow lounges but mediocre inflight business class service. It will help U.S. airlines like Delta, whose lounges are nothing to write home about, but offer a good business class hard product.

    • Alex Hill says:

      Well, except that Delta now uses Virgin Atlantic’s lounges in LHR for most flights. And the KLM and AF lounges Delta uses in AMS and CDG certainly beat the pants off of SkyClubs.

  11. Axelsarkiss says:

    I’m particularly interested in the physical considerations. Airports like MAD have a bunch of US bound flights from all terminals — the reshuffle that would be required (either away from or to T4) would seem to render this undoable.

  12. Joe says:

    Cranky hit the nail on head here. It really depends on the airport and whether you are at your origin or connecting. I’ve used pre-clearance many times in Canada – at airports from large to small (e.g. YYZ, YVR to YYC to YWG, YEG). It works great when you clear customs at your origin, especially at small airports. It works okay when clearing at an efficient connecting airport. I can imagine it will be a nightmare trying to connect and pre-clear at an airport like LHR. For passengers, the costs will far outweigh any benefits, particularly for those who have Global Entry, NEXUS, etc and get through US customs quickly already.

  13. Alex Hill says:

    I’ve noted that many airports foreign already segregate US departures for secondary security screening. Certainly SYD does: there are glassed-in gates out of which the US flights depart. (Two different US departure areas: one for the QF flights and one in the other wing that the DL/UA/VA flights leave from.) You get a secondary passport/boarding pass check from contract personnel before entering this area; last time, my boarding pass had SSSS (and Pre-Check!) printed on it, so I got pulled aside as I entered the boarding area for a full pat down. Obviously, a whole different level of segregation would be needed for Pre-Clearance, but it may not be *too* hard. Things like lounges and shopping may be more difficult.

  14. Alex Hill says:

    My main concern is predictability. Having one more task that can take 5 minutes but can take an hour to complete between airport arrival and needing to be at the boarding gate makes traveling much less pleasant. Now, of course, Cranky’s right that this is just as much an issue for onward connections after landing in the US, but pre-clearance means that *everyone* has an unpredictable component to their journey. At least passengers whose first US landing is their destination can clear Customs and leave the airport immediately without having to build in extra time before the flight.

  15. Bill Hough says:

    Cranky writes, “But pleasing the traveler isn’t really the point of these facilities anyway as far as the feds are concerned.”

    Pre- clearance never made sense to me from a convenience-to-the-passenger viewpoint. Under the regular way, you wait at Immigration for a passport stamp (which you have to ask for) while the bags are being delivered. Under preclearance you have to get to the departure airport early as Mr. Hill says above.

  16. JoEllen says:

    Who mans these stations, U.S. Customs employees ? If so, who pays for their housing, food, etc. while they enjoy living and working overseas ? …..must be nice….

  17. 02nz says:

    “KLM’s big hub bank for flights to the US is in the early morning.” – Not true. KLM only has three US flights in the morning (LAX, SFO, IAH), all departing just before 10. A (seasonal) flight departs for DFW around 10:35. But the majority (six other flights) are in the afternoon (ATL, ORD, IAD, second flight to IAH, and two to JFK).

    • Alex Hill says:

      KLM does have a big bank to the U.S. in the morning. Many are operated by Delta, but same difference for connections.

    • 02nz – As Alex Hill states, you can’t just look at KLM operated flights. Delta and KLM use their aircraft interchangeably. That dates back years and years to the old Northwest partnership. (I remember doing a double take every time I saw that Northwest DC-10 at Dulles back in my college days.)

      Looking at a summer Monday this year, it breaks down pretty easily.

      *There are two flights that go before 9a, one to Detroit and the other to Atlanta. These are meant for connections between those Delta hubs and not to pick up connections in Amsterdam.

      *Between 930a and 11a, there are 12 flights heading to the US in that first big bank.

      *There is an 1125a flight to JFK which presumably is primarily there for connections beyond New York since that arrives in the thick of Delta’s JFK bank.

      *Between 1230p and 2p, there are 8 flights in the second, smaller bank.

      *Between 230p and 530p there are 6 flights going to Delta’s hubs (if you include Boston as a hub, though that flight seems to be an outlier). These are presumably more about Delta’s banks, or in the case of that last JFK flight, maybe more about local business traffic.

      So you really have two banks made for Amsterdam connections and the morning one is the biggest.

      • Oliver says:

        Off topic, but…

        “I remember doing a double take every time I saw that Northwest DC-10 at Dulles back in my college days.”

        Did you ever see those DC10 that on the one side had the KLM livery and on the other side the Northwest one? Talk about double take :)

      • Alex Hill says:

        Indeed. But this brings up a logistical challenge. If most of the US flights are concentrated in two two-hour banks, how does it work? They’d need a lot of capacity to handle that traffic, both in gates that are “in the US” and in CBP agents, but then those agents sit around between banks with nothing to do. And then do those gates have to sit idle the rest of the day, when there are likely banks departing to Asia, Africa, etc? I guess the AMS pier design may make this at least plausible to segregate a pier off at US departure time then open it up again, but they’d presumably need to do a full security sweep every time they open and close the segregated US departures area to ensure that no one is improperly on the wrong side of the fence.

        It just seems wildly inefficient for whoever’s footing the bill both in personnel cost and efficiency in managing the airport. At least at major US airports, though flights certainly come in waves, there’s more volume of incoming passengers to average the CBP load over. And I guess one advantage is that departing passengers don’t arrive all at once like arriving passengers do, which will help smooth out the burden. Maybe this is more efficient than staffing CBP for small airports with only a few long haul flights a day (eg SLC, PDX, PIT), but it probably can’t let CBP close their stations at those airports altogether anyway.

  18. Jim says:

    Pre-clearance is great at airports that have O&D traffic to the US, like most of them in Canada, because you can get to the airport at the correct time. It really doesn’t work in places that people connect at, such as Abu Dhabi, because most passengers are connecting there and have no control over when they arrive.

  19. USBT says:

    I can’t see it happening at Heathrow any time in the foreseeable future. The terminal layout is complex and the airlines are (mostly) assigned by alliance. CBP would be wanting one dedicated concourse for Preclearance, and that would mess up all connections, not just US bound.

    If say it’s the C satellite at T5 that’s assigned for US bound flights that would force BA to move many of their flights out of T5 altogether. That would mess up their connections to Asia, Africa and the ME as many of those would have to go to another terminal. And if Preclearance were given say the T2B concourse, BA would have to add an extra hour to their MCTs for US bound flights (it’s already 90 minutes for a T5 to T2 transit). And using T2B would mess things up for the Star carriers as the the other long hauls (Air Canada, Asiana, Thai, EVA, Singapore, Air China, etc) would be forced somewhere else and their connections messed up.

    I can see it working at Manchester which is smaller (DUB size) and most pax are originating there. OSL and ARN would work, but if they’re thinking about there because of the Norwegian flights, that’s not gonna help their pax as DY doesn’t do interlines so there’d be no onward connections for them in the US anyway.

  20. NonGEPAX says:

    Its nice that they are trying to simplify what is notoriously an atrocious punishment of a procedure although it would make far more sense if they just simplified their customs procedures in line with the rest of the aviation world so that connecting in the US wasn’t such a liability in the first place.

  21. Alex Hill says:

    The real benefit of preclearance to me is that enables flights to airports in the US without CBP facilities (smaller airports and LGA and DCA). That rationale only makes sense for shorter flights (ie Canada and the Caribbean) and unusual circumstances like the BA LCY-SNN-JFK flight (where the plane has to sit on the ground to refuel anyway; might as well take advantage of that time and take care of Immigration). Thinking about it, I really don’t get the appeal from a passenger or airline point of view for major European airports; they’re not going to have service to US airports that are too small to have CBP facilities anyway, and perimeter restrictions and runway length prevent LGA and DCA service.

    I guess this is all about what CBP wants (and asking foreigns hosts to fit the bill).

  22. Sean S. says:

    There is also another issue no one has brought up; the fact that pre-clearance facilities do not allow for someone to make an asylum claim upon arrival and may violate the rule of non-refoulement. Theoretically, though unlikely, if pre-clearance was the only means of entering the US, asylum seekers would not be able to make a claim upon touching US soil. in effect they would have to then obtain asylum through an Embassy, a long, arduous process, despite being in immediate danger to life.

    • Jim says:

      They could still arrive by land or sea. Air travel is not the only way of entering a country.

      However, there is never going to be pre-clearance at every foreign airport with flights to the US, so it isn’t an issue.

  23. Bgriff says:

    I can see pros and cons to the idea of preclearance, and if we had started talking to LHR about it 25 years ago (before they built a bunch of new terminals) they might even be set up quite nicely for it by now.

    But if we’re going to do this, why not have Schengen Zone preclearance at LHR? Canadian preclearance? UAE? South African? It gets ridiculous. Preclearance makes a ton of sense in Canada given the size of the traffic flows, but it is kind of obnoxiously imperalist, and probably unworkable, to suggest it at LHR.

    • Bgriff says:

      I should note, there is actually a good reason not to have Schengen zone preclearance — because many people flying out of LHR on AF or LH may be connecting onward to other non-Schengen destinations and don’t actually want to be cleared into the Schengen zone at all. All the more reason to sort this stuff out at the destination.

    • marek says:

      I can’t immediately find LHR only data, but UK-USA passenger volume is less than 10% of total UK international passenger volume (albeit the second largest destination country). It will be higher than that at LHR, but even at Heathrow, which is probably the most Atlantic focused of European airports, most departures aren’t going that way. So Bgriff is right, the benefit to disruption ratio doesn’t look favourable.

      But NonGEPAX makes the most powerful point: preclearance displaces the problem, it doesn’t solve it. If the US authorities had a less dysfunctional system in the first place, nobody would need expensive and over-elaborate processes for circumventing the underlying weaknesses.

      • malbarda says:

        If you want to talk dysfunctional, let’s mention the stupid nonsense that the passport and security check for LHR T5 to T5 connections and/or T5 to any other LHR terminal.

        Whether connecting to international or UK domestic, there is a barrage of different “stops” where different people seem to be doing completely random and disjointed bits of security checks. There is the mysterious photo they take of you without wanting to see your passport. This may or may not happen a few times if you are so lucky to change terminals. There is the person that just scans your boarding pass. Then there is passport control.
        Then there is your security screening where, I swear, the scanners are set to ultra mega sensitive times infinity so that 1 in 2 carry on bags gets beeped to the side belt of extra 30 minute wait time hell.

        On top of that, US bound flights require an additional check in when going from T5 to T3 (other terminals may or may not have this but I have no experience with that). However, US to Europe T5 to T3 flights do not require the additional check in with the airline. No one explains this to you, and no one I believe knows why this is. And why it is not so when you go the reverse from T3 (say American) to T5 (say BA).

        Adding a bit of Preclearance to this mess will go completely unnoticed.

  24. CF – please clean up my last answer. When answering directly from email, it apprently adds your whole signature file automatically… Did not know that!

    • CF says:

      malbarda – I fixed this, but I do believe it weeds out sigs. Must be something about yours that slipped through the cracks. I forwarded it on.

  25. Ed K. says:

    CF and your readers have certainly laid out the positives and negatives of pre-clearance. At some airports iit will not be an issue since there is no way to accomplish it in limited space with multiple airlines.

    We have used Nexus and Global for pre-clearance returning from Canada. It’s great when the iris scan works. When it doesn’t we simply go to the other machine. Since you have to be at the airport well before departure, it is handy to use the time for pre-clearance.

  26. Jeremy McMillen says:

    Slightly off topic but why doesn’t Mexico have any pre-clearance?

  27. helenor says:

    OMG.
    Just returned to NY from DUB on Delta What an Effing horror show.
    We (3) were booked in business first (front cabin) on DL091 on 26 May.
    One companion had a pacemaker One had a knee replaced One (me) had nothing special.
    Being in the front cabin didn’t help.
    Everyone was herded into one line and I emphasize HEARDED.
    One friend, with the pacemaker, got through in 15 minutes.
    The second, his wife with the knee replacement, took a half hour longer.
    They both waited for me for another 45 minutes.
    We questioned whether it was Ringling Brothers or Cole Brother that were running this fiasco.
    To cap it off, we were stopped at the Delta gate again and quizzed extensively.
    Why?
    As it was explained to us, since we pre-printed our boarding passes, Delta had to “make sure that our data matched theirs”.
    An Effing nightmare.
    Next time, a short hop to LHR and I’ll take my chances stateside.
    I’ll NEVER let this Dublin thing happen to me again.
    You’d think that the legacy carriers could exert more influence with the Dublin/Irish/Airport authorities.
    I’ll be happy to provide me name if you request.
    Oh, and the traveler with the pacemaker has gone through pre-clearance and all it entailed.
    Didn’t help one bit!

         

  28. I am not sure after reading this post that I feel good or bad about the preclearance facilities. I have GE and may find that it may not be too bad for me. The good news is that once entering the US, I could transfer flights like a domestic transfer. The bad news is that I have to arrive even earlier that usual, but hopefully it may not be as long as it would be if I did not have Global Entry.

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