If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

October Interviews
10/2 Debra H. Goldstein, Two Bites To Many
10/10 Connie Berry, A Legacy of Murder
10/17 Lida Sideris, Double Murder or Nothing
10/23 Toni L. P. Kelner writing as Leigh Perry, The Skeleton Stuffs A Stocking
10/30 Jennifer David Hesse, Autumn Alibi

Saturday Guest Bloggers:
10/5 Ang Pompano
10/12 Eyes of Texas Anthology Writers
10/19 Neil Plakcy

WWK Bloggers: 10/26 Kait Carson


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Lyrical Press will publish Kaye George's Vintage Sweets mystery series. The first book, Revenge Is Sweet, will be released in March. Look for the interview here on 3/11.

Shari Randall will be writing again for St. Martin's, perhaps under a pseudonym. We look forward to reading Shari's Ice Cream Shop Mystery series debuting next year. Congratulations, Shari!

Susan Van Kirk's A Death At Tippett Pond was released on June 15th. Read E. B. Davis's interview with Susan.

KM Rockwood's "Frozen Daiquiris" appears in The Best Laid Plans: 21 Stories of Mystery & Suspense, edited by Judy Penz Sheluk. The anthology was released on June 18th.

Fishy Business anthology authors include KM Rockwood, Debra Goldstein, and James M. Jackson. This volume was edited by Linda Rodriguez.

Please read Margaret S. Hamilton and Debra Goldstein's short stories (don't ask about their modus operandi) in a new anthology, Cooked To Death Vol. IV: Cold Cut Files.

Warren Bull's Abraham Lincoln: Seldom Told Stories was released. It is available at: GoRead: https://www.goread.com/book/abraham-lincoln-seldom-told-stories or at Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/ydaklx8p

Grace Topping's mystery, Staging is Murder was released April 30.


Friday, July 21, 2017

How To Fly Through the Airport  by Warren Bull

Getting to my recent cruise in the Baltic Sea my wife and I breezed through the US airport. In Holland we squeezed into a mob of people and then trudged along a serpentine path with long line of travelers waiting to go through immigration. Back in the United States we went back into a line. Fortunately the US Customs agents were great. It reminded me about the programs designed for travelers who want to get through airports in the United States without having to perform a partial striptease and wait anxiously, like a character in a Hitchcock film, while the departure time gets closer and closer as the seconds slip away.

Global Entry: It’s the most expensive program, at $100 for five years, but it comes with the best benefits, i.e. you can avoid the long lines at passport control and customs when entering the United States. You can also use TSA PreCheck, Nexus, and Sentri (all explained below). The process of applying for Global Entry, which is administered by US Customs and Border Protection, also tends to be faster than the other programs.

Who’s eligible: US citizens and permanent residents, and citizens of Germany, the Netherlands, Panama, South Korea, and Mexico. But only Americans can get the PreCheck benefits.

TSA PreCheck: TSA stands for the Transportation Security Administration, the people who screen you and your carry-on baggage. PreCheck gives you access to a special TSA security line in most US airports on flights operated by most US airlines. (check the link given below for details.) That line is generally shorter, faster, and you don’t have to remove your shoes or take anything out of your bag. Be prepared to put your call phone in the carry on luggage that gets scanned. It costs $85 for five years, slightly less than Global Entry but without the other benefits. Applying for PreCheck also tends to take longer.
Who’s eligible: US citizens and permanent residents.

Nexus: If you want to save money and aren’t in a rush give this option serious consideration. It costs just $50 for five years and comes with all the same benefits as Global Entry and PreCheck. On the down side, the application process tends to take several months and can only be completed in a few cities near the US-Canada border. Nexus is designed to expedite crossing onto either side, with special lanes for cars and special kiosks at passport control in both US and Canadian airports while Global Entry only works when you cross into the United States.
Who’s eligible: US and Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

Sentri: This program expedites crossing from Mexico into the US. It’s similar to Nexus, including the Global Entry, PreCheck, and Nexus benefits, but costs more (roughly $122.25 for five years).
Who’s eligible: US citizens and permanent residents.

For Global Entry you apply on the Global Online Enrollment System. If you haven’t created a GOES account before—and you probably haven’t—then that’s the first thing to do. Once you have an account, log in. The process will take about one hour unless you type as badly as I do.  You can apply for several of the programs listed above. Make sure to select “Global Entry” when filling out your application. The form is lengthy and should take you about a half hour to complete. Most of the questions are straightforward, if you have your passport and driver’s license on hand and a decent memory. The trickiest part requires you to detail your employment and residency history for the past five years.

After completing the questions you will be asked for credit card or bank account information to pay $100. There is no refund if you’re rejected. But the fee covers you for five years, if you are approved. Some credit cards, generally those designed for frequent fliers and corporate travelers, will refund your Global Entry or PreCheck fee.

Speaking of rejection, the government says it will reject anyone who has been convicted of a crime, has violated customs or immigration regulations, or is under investigation by law enforcement. You will also be rejected if you provide false information on your application, so spend some time getting that right. Of course, customs and border control agents also have discretion to reject anyone they declare isn’t a “low risk.”

The time it take for your application to be reviewed can generally be measured in days and not weeks. You will receive an email when your application is reviewed and have to log back into GOES to read the message. If everything went well, it will say that you have been conditionally approved, pending an in-person interview.

Then you schedule an interview at one of available offices. The website give you the locations possible.

Wait times vary widely by location. Some locations will accept walk-ins from people who were conditionally approved online. To save yourself a needless trip, try searching online for people’s experience with that specific enrollment center.

The interview is easy. You may be asked a few basic questions about how you travel, your employment status, etc. But you wouldn’t have gotten this far in the process if you weren’t already destined for a rubber stamp.

At the end of the interview, if you’re approved, the officer is required to take your fingerprints. You cannot enroll without completing this step.

At the end of the interview point, enjoy the benefits of PreCheck. While waiting for the invention of the transporter or the magical creation of floo powder, one of these options should help you avoid long lines.


KM Rockwood said...

I can remember when flying used to be fun!

Arriving at the airport & going through the check-in procedures was part of the adventure. While customs was always a bit of a pain, it didn't used to be terrible.

I've cut back on my travel considerably, and a great deal of that can be traced to the difficulty of going through the government procedures. If there's another reasonable way to get there other than flying, I will go that way. And I have to really want or need to go someplace that requires flying.

I wonder how many people are like me, and have cut back from several flights a year to one every few years.

Jim Jackson said...

Thanks for the information, Warren. I might just have to look into the Global Entry -- although getting to one of the offices would be something of a hassle.

~ Jim

Grace Topping said...

Wow! Warren, this is terrific information. I had heard about Global Entry but was under the impression that it was $100 a year. We don't travel out of the country enough to pay yearly. But for five years--worth the cost of admission.

Gloria Alden said...

Interesting Warren. I haven't flown out of country for at least eight years now. I don't remember having any problems with those flights. I'll have to check into this the next time I go overseas.

Mary Feliz said...

My husband and I both have TSA pre-check, but we just flew for the first time since his recent knee replacement surgery. Even with TSA pre-check, he has to go through the twirly booth, so he had to remove shoes, belt, keys, jacket, etc. Cane also had to go through the machine, but they gave him a fluorescent green replacement cane to get through the booth. The green cane resulted in great hilarity, because it was a foot shorter than his own. Trying to use it, it bent him over so much that his head and his rear end could not both fit in the booth. Luckily, the cane was more for helping other people remember not to jostle him than for actual balance, and he was fine. It was a learning process.

Kaye George said...

I don't know if it's our age or not, but we get TSA Precheck every time now. We didn't do anything, we just get it. It's very nice!

Kaye George said...

Mary Feliz, we don't remove anything, just take stuff out of our pockets and go through the scanner because we both have fake knees, and I have other fake parts. They wand us afterward, which takes two seconds.