WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

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catdude
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WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by catdude » Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:32 pm

Hi Bogleheads -

Personally, I haven't flown internationally since the mid-1990's. And I have no plans to do so anytime soon. So the smartphone app that's talked about in this Washington Post story, "Mobile Passport", won't benefit me. But it sounds like a fabulous app. Has anybody in Boglehead land used it? You can check out the story here....

https://www.washingtonpost.com/travel/t ... 0a6573d083
Although not new, Mobile Passport seems to be under the radar for many Americans traveling internationally. The service gives travelers access to a customs express lane, getting you through to baggage claim in minutes. All you have to do is input your passport information, take a selfie and answer the same questions you’d encounter at the standard Customs kiosk. The service is fast, free (unless you want a premium option) and exists thanks to a guy named Hans Miller.
catdude | | "Only in America." (Yogi Berra, after being told that the mayor of Catholic Dublin was Jewish)

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whodidntante
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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by whodidntante » Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:39 pm

It's good, but the combined customs and immigration for carry on only and global entry are both better. I only got global entry because sometimes the combined customs and immigration line was shut down.

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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by Artsdoctor » Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:45 pm

Sounds great. I've used Global Entry for many, many years now (I think going back to the beginning?) and have had no problems whatsoever, even with renewal. However, it can be expensive to set up and going to the airport for the interview is a small pain so Mobile Passport can be attractive for a lot of people. (One thing: by having Global Entry, I have TSA Pre-Check as well. With Mobile Passport, I didn't see if that was included as well.)

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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by Nate79 » Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:50 pm

Yes, I love using Mobile Passport if I'm flying into an airport that allows it. Unfortunately not all airport have it which is a bummer.

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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by rjbraun » Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:55 pm

Artsdoctor wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:45 pm
Sounds great. I've used Global Entry for many, many years now (I think going back to the beginning?) and have had no problems whatsoever, even with renewal. However, it can be expensive to set up and going to the airport for the interview is a small pain so Mobile Passport can be attractive for a lot of people. (One thing: by having Global Entry, I have TSA Pre-Check as well. With Mobile Passport, I didn't see if that was included as well.)
TSA Pre-Check doesn't automatically come with Global Entry, does it? We have Global Entry, but I'm not clear that we also have TSA Pre-Check. How can we get it?

Thanks in advance for any help with this.

Seasonal
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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by Seasonal » Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:01 pm

rjbraun wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:55 pm
Artsdoctor wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:45 pm
Sounds great. I've used Global Entry for many, many years now (I think going back to the beginning?) and have had no problems whatsoever, even with renewal. However, it can be expensive to set up and going to the airport for the interview is a small pain so Mobile Passport can be attractive for a lot of people. (One thing: by having Global Entry, I have TSA Pre-Check as well. With Mobile Passport, I didn't see if that was included as well.)
TSA Pre-Check doesn't automatically come with Global Entry, does it? We have Global Entry, but I'm not clear that we also have TSA Pre-Check. How can we get it?

Thanks in advance for any help with this.
TSA pre-check does come automatically with Global Entry. You do have to enter your Known Traveler Number into your reservation. Pre-check can be very helpful. https://www.tsa.gov/travel/frequently-a ... -and-other

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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by Horsefly » Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:33 pm

We've had Global Entry for years, but on our return trip from Australia in April we decided to try mobile passport. It was probably just as easy. We love Precheck that comes with Global Entry, but when our current Global Entry comes up for renewal we may just cut back to Precheck by itself and use mobile passport for our international from now on.

dbr
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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by dbr » Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:38 pm

I have used it. I prefer global entry, which does come with precheck. Note if you enter the MO app you will not be able to use GE at that entry point that time. If you don't have or can't get GE, MO could be useful. I first used it when a flight attendant on an outgoing flight told me about it and I got the app installed while traveling and used it on return. When we re-entered I looked for the lane to use it and flashing the app at a customs agent I was personally escorted through the lanes by the agent with the explanation that the app was active but they hadn't set up the lane yet. It is the only time I have ever been a guy flashing an iPhone at officialdom and having the Red Sea part. :wink:

TravelforFun
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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by TravelforFun » Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:34 pm

I got Global Entry and use it a few times a year and it's fast enough for me.

TravelforFun

flyingaway
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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by flyingaway » Wed Jul 10, 2019 10:26 pm

If you have checked bags, they don't come out early regardless of your app or global entry.
If I were retired, I might just wait for the TSA or border control officers to do what they want to do, as I would have plenty of time.

sambb
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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by sambb » Wed Jul 10, 2019 10:39 pm

ive used both; far prefer global entry

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PaddyMac
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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by PaddyMac » Thu Jul 11, 2019 12:04 am

We got global entry this year, and it comes with Pre-Check.

Check your credit card. Some of the Travel ones reimburse you for the $100 fee.

https://thepointsguy.com/guide/top-card ... -precheck/

Trish

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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by mrb09 » Thu Jul 11, 2019 12:23 am

I have TSA-Pre but not global entry. I tried the mobile app coming into LAX, LAX (as usual) was pretty disorganized, there were no signs but I think a guy waived me through a mobile only line. Took same amount of time as for regular line. I've seen actual kiosks at SFO, but not at LAX (may have been because it was the "semi international" terminal for Mexican/Central American flights)

It won't save data unless you pay for it, which (for the free version) pretty much means you need to take a selfie and picture of your passport as you're de-planing.

Idea is good. Might work at a better airport than LAX.

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msi
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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by msi » Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:21 am

sambb wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 10:39 pm
ive used both; far prefer global entry
Why? Did you have problems with mobile passport?

German Expat
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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by German Expat » Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:33 am

I used both but still prefer Global Entry. Global Entry you only have the machines to deal with and if they are working (sometimes a lot are broken, just recently in Toronoto) it is very quick. Also you get your own line at a lot of airports at customs (e.g. was a real life saver at Newark). It helps a lot if you travel with carry on only and TSA pre is included. As others wrote costs can be reimbursed by a lot of credit cards. It is a lot more involved though with the application and especially getting an interview can be tricky. I have Global Entry for more then 9 years and had no bad experience.

We did use mobile passport while travelling with my family. The lines tend to be shorter at immigration for it and it is a very fast process to enter your data after you land and wait for the plane to taxi to the gate. Unfortunately now they start to charge 15 dollar for the premium version and all the things that are now premium used to be free. The app is free so you can just install it and try it once and see if you like it. If the regular lines are short just don't hit submit. Unfortunately it now seems that airports can also opt out. They just lost IAD (Washington DC) which is a bummer because we will arrive there on Saturday.

With the new pricing though if you go for premium global entry is by far the better choice for 1 person (apart from getting an interview it is an easy process). If you travel as a family and not too often I would install the app, try the free version at arrival and then decide if the 15 dollar version is worth it to you. It seems like I am still grandfathered because I can still see our 3 passports in the app and select them.

Also see e.g. here the update on the 'Plus' version:

https://www.androidpolice.com/2019/04/2 ... usly-free/

LifeIsGood
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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by LifeIsGood » Thu Jul 11, 2019 5:57 am

I've beat my wife through customs in ATL the last 2 times using Mobile Passport and her using Global Entry.

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Nate79
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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by Nate79 » Thu Jul 11, 2019 6:07 am

German Expat wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:33 am
I used both but still prefer Global Entry. Global Entry you only have the machines to deal with and if they are working (sometimes a lot are broken, just recently in Toronoto) it is very quick. Also you get your own line at a lot of airports at customs (e.g. was a real life saver at Newark). It helps a lot if you travel with carry on only and TSA pre is included. As others wrote costs can be reimbursed by a lot of credit cards. It is a lot more involved though with the application and especially getting an interview can be tricky. I have Global Entry for more then 9 years and had no bad experience.

We did use mobile passport while travelling with my family. The lines tend to be shorter at immigration for it and it is a very fast process to enter your data after you land and wait for the plane to taxi to the gate. Unfortunately now they start to charge 15 dollar for the premium version and all the things that are now premium used to be free. The app is free so you can just install it and try it once and see if you like it. If the regular lines are short just don't hit submit. Unfortunately it now seems that airports can also opt out. They just lost IAD (Washington DC) which is a bummer because we will arrive there on Saturday.

With the new pricing though if you go for premium global entry is by far the better choice for 1 person (apart from getting an interview it is an easy process). If you travel as a family and not too often I would install the app, try the free version at arrival and then decide if the 15 dollar version is worth it to you. It seems like I am still grandfathered because I can still see our 3 passports in the app and select them.

Also see e.g. here the update on the 'Plus' version:

https://www.androidpolice.com/2019/04/2 ... usly-free/
According to the Mobile Passport website there is no grandfathering for Plus benefits. (Directly in their faq)

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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by neilpilot » Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:31 am

We travel internationally 1-2 times a year, have never had Global Entry, but have used Mobile Passport for our last 3 returns. The first return was a couple years ago at JFK, when MP was very new, and I couldn’t connect the app so it obviously didn’t work. That could have been my fault or the newness of MP.

The last 2 returns were via BOS Logan, and it was incredibly efficient. In one case we traveled with a GE couple and we moved thru the immigration and customs checks ahead of them!

Of course this doesn’t help with boarding, but we’ve found that for the majority of our trips the airlines assign TSA Precheck on our boarding pass so we figure why bother spending the $ and time to get GE.

bluebolt
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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by bluebolt » Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:47 am

I have Global Entry but have used the mobile passport app with family.

One warning for the non-premium version - don't start to fill out the info until you've landed in the US. I made the mistake of filling out the info on the plane before departure, but it doesn't get saved if you don't submit it unless you have the premium version. If I knew that in advance, it wouldn't have been a big deal to wait until we landed and fill out the info and submit. And, getting through passport control was super quick with mobile passport.

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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by alfaspider » Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:52 am

Seasonal wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:01 pm
rjbraun wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:55 pm
Artsdoctor wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:45 pm
Sounds great. I've used Global Entry for many, many years now (I think going back to the beginning?) and have had no problems whatsoever, even with renewal. However, it can be expensive to set up and going to the airport for the interview is a small pain so Mobile Passport can be attractive for a lot of people. (One thing: by having Global Entry, I have TSA Pre-Check as well. With Mobile Passport, I didn't see if that was included as well.)
TSA Pre-Check doesn't automatically come with Global Entry, does it? We have Global Entry, but I'm not clear that we also have TSA Pre-Check. How can we get it?

Thanks in advance for any help with this.
TSA pre-check does come automatically with Global Entry. You do have to enter your Known Traveler Number into your reservation. Pre-check can be very helpful. https://www.tsa.gov/travel/frequently-a ... -and-other
Global entry comes with pre-check, but pre-check does not come with global entry. Although I fly internationally relatively often, I don't have global entry simply because the pre-check interviews came to my office, but I didn't have the opportunity to sign up for global entry. For the most part, I breeze through customs very quickly, but it likely depends heavily on what airport you fly into.

DaftInvestor
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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by DaftInvestor » Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:56 am

I didn't read the article and didn't know it was a secret - there are obvious signs in a number of airports I have entered back into the US through in the last year+. Everyone I know (who doesn't have Global Entry) uses it.

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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by neilpilot » Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:02 am

DaftInvestor wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:56 am
I didn't read the article and didn't know it was a secret - there are obvious signs in a number of airports I have entered back into the US through in the last year+. Everyone I know (who doesn't have Global Entry) uses it.
When we returned thru Boston in April 2018, we were the only ones going thru the MP line. The regular lines were seriously backed up. Maybe no one you know was returning on our flight. :D

When we arrive back from the UK this September we may find the situation at Logan very different, with everyone using MP. I hope not.

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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by DaftInvestor » Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:08 am

neilpilot wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:02 am
DaftInvestor wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:56 am
I didn't read the article and didn't know it was a secret - there are obvious signs in a number of airports I have entered back into the US through in the last year+. Everyone I know (who doesn't have Global Entry) uses it.
When we returned thru Boston in April 2018, we were the only ones going thru the MP line. The regular lines were seriously backed up. Maybe no one you know was returning on our flight. :D

When we arrive back from the UK this September we may find the situation at Logan very different, with everyone using MP. I hope not.
I've used it in Boston and same thing happened - went right through while the regular lines had huge back-ups. But you would assume everyone waiting in line would wonder "Geez - what was that Mobile Passport about" and then use it the next time they come through. Perhaps there are just a lot of first-time travelers all the time that don't catch on. The WaPo article may now allow single-time travelers to catch on and cause the Mobile-Passport line to back up as well. Similar to TSA-Pre - TSA-Pre used to be a breeze everywhere - now everyone seems to have it (and at times the Pre line is longer and slower than the regular one - but still worthwhile not having to take off shoes/remove-items from bags/etc.).

The weird thing I noticed the last few years is many airlines still pass at the old customs-declaration cards - but then when you land at the airports (and if you don't have Mobile Passport) you are told to go to a machine and enter all the information (versus using the card if you took one and filled it out) again and print out a receipt. The non-travelers get confused because they have filled out this card the airlines gave them (while many of us knew not to bother with the card).

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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by Bogle7 » Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:14 am

dbr wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:38 pm
Note if you enter the MO app you will not be able to use GE at that entry point that time.
This is really important.
We did not know this. Thankfully, the queue length for manual processing was zero. The agent said: "Many people make this mistake. You should delete the Mobile App."

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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by Artsdoctor » Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:16 am

mrb09 wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 12:23 am
I have TSA-Pre but not global entry. I tried the mobile app coming into LAX, LAX (as usual) was pretty disorganized, there were no signs but I think a guy waived me through a mobile only line. Took same amount of time as for regular line. I've seen actual kiosks at SFO, but not at LAX (may have been because it was the "semi international" terminal for Mexican/Central American flights)

It won't save data unless you pay for it, which (for the free version) pretty much means you need to take a selfie and picture of your passport as you're de-planing.

Idea is good. Might work at a better airport than LAX.
Try Global Entry. I've never had any problems at LAX and it is incredibly fast (especially when you look at that line you're walking past--which can be uncomfortable).

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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by DaftInvestor » Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:28 am

Artsdoctor wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:16 am
mrb09 wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 12:23 am
I have TSA-Pre but not global entry. I tried the mobile app coming into LAX, LAX (as usual) was pretty disorganized, there were no signs but I think a guy waived me through a mobile only line. Took same amount of time as for regular line. I've seen actual kiosks at SFO, but not at LAX (may have been because it was the "semi international" terminal for Mexican/Central American flights)

It won't save data unless you pay for it, which (for the free version) pretty much means you need to take a selfie and picture of your passport as you're de-planing.

Idea is good. Might work at a better airport than LAX.
Try Global Entry. I've never had any problems at LAX and it is incredibly fast (especially when you look at that line you're walking past--which can be uncomfortable).
This (bolded/underlined below) isn't true (at least not for me). I have the free version (on Android) and when I go back into the App I can select "A Passenger" which brings up my information (including picture) from previous time. I used it 4 times last year - only took picture once - and I just went in and looked at the App after reading this - my info and picture are still in the app.

(Edit Add: I do see the offer to Upgrade to "Plus" within the app - which I don't recall being there last year - in order to securely store your passport - but mine is in there anyway so I'm a bit confused what the "plus" actually buys you. Maybe I hit some type of bug whereby my stuff is saved without the $15 payment - I don't know).

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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by David Jay » Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:43 am

I use Mobile Passport, it gets you in the “short line” when disembarking from a cruise at ports that use it (i.e. Ft. Lauderdale).
Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future - Niels Bohr | To get the "risk premium", you really do have to take the risk - nisiprius

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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by UpperNwGuy » Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:49 am

I prefer Global Entry.

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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by Super Hans » Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:52 am

I have GE, but I can’t use it when traveling with my daughter. I don’t trust CBP with her biometrics and will let her decide whether to enroll when she’s older. We successfully used the Mobile Passport app at IAD a handful of times but then got the unhappy surprise when arriving in May to find it no longer available. We had to wait in line for over an hour. Quite unpleasant!

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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by German Expat » Thu Jul 11, 2019 10:12 am

Nate79 wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 6:07 am
German Expat wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:33 am
I used both but still prefer Global Entry. Global Entry you only have the machines to deal with and if they are working (sometimes a lot are broken, just recently in Toronoto) it is very quick. Also you get your own line at a lot of airports at customs (e.g. was a real life saver at Newark). It helps a lot if you travel with carry on only and TSA pre is included. As others wrote costs can be reimbursed by a lot of credit cards. It is a lot more involved though with the application and especially getting an interview can be tricky. I have Global Entry for more then 9 years and had no bad experience.

We did use mobile passport while travelling with my family. The lines tend to be shorter at immigration for it and it is a very fast process to enter your data after you land and wait for the plane to taxi to the gate. Unfortunately now they start to charge 15 dollar for the premium version and all the things that are now premium used to be free. The app is free so you can just install it and try it once and see if you like it. If the regular lines are short just don't hit submit. Unfortunately it now seems that airports can also opt out. They just lost IAD (Washington DC) which is a bummer because we will arrive there on Saturday.

With the new pricing though if you go for premium global entry is by far the better choice for 1 person (apart from getting an interview it is an easy process). If you travel as a family and not too often I would install the app, try the free version at arrival and then decide if the 15 dollar version is worth it to you. It seems like I am still grandfathered because I can still see our 3 passports in the app and select them.

Also see e.g. here the update on the 'Plus' version:

https://www.androidpolice.com/2019/04/2 ... usly-free/
According to the Mobile Passport website there is no grandfathering for Plus benefits. (Directly in their faq)
It did work until 2 or 3 days ago but the last update blew it out. I just started it and it showed me a message about it.
'Upgrade now and store your passport information' and I have only 2 options and can't go in the app.
Option 1: Upgrade and Store
Option 2: Delete my data

So seems like they just rolled out the new 'enhancement'.

Because I have Global Entry and our current flight is via IAD I won't upgrade because they canceled it there anyway.

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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by niceguy7376 » Thu Jul 11, 2019 10:51 am

I have just used the free version Mobile Passport last week in ATL. I downloaded the App 2 days ahead of my arrival and scanned my passport and took a selfie and saved it.
Once i landed in ATL, i then selected the port of entry (because it says not to complete the process if you are more than 4 hours away from customs) and answered Yes/No and submitted the info and it gave me 4 hours from that time to use that session.

In ATL, they first separated the "Transfers/ ATL final spot" people. Then they separated US CItizens/ Green Card holders and others.
Then they separated the Global Entry people.
Finally left with Mobile Passport people or those that need to do the Manual entry at machines. This is where it took some time as they sequentially send people to machines OR divert the mobile passport ones. Wish they had separated the mobile passport users a bit ahead itself.

Then it is directly to CBP.

The app when I downloaded from Google store said that i need to accept the $15/yr autorenewal after 7 days. So I accepted the terms and then after I was back in the city, cancelled the subscription in Google Play store and then deleted the App.

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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by eddot98 » Thu Jul 11, 2019 10:26 pm

Please do not post about, talk about, or even think about the Mobile Passport app. Help keep it a secret.

criticalmass
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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by criticalmass » Fri Jul 12, 2019 8:58 am

catdude wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:32 pm
Hi Bogleheads -

Personally, I haven't flown internationally since the mid-1990's. And I have no plans to do so anytime soon. So the smartphone app that's talked about in this Washington Post story, "Mobile Passport", won't benefit me. But it sounds like a fabulous app. Has anybody in Boglehead land used it? You can check out the story here....

https://www.washingtonpost.com/travel/t ... 0a6573d083
Although not new, Mobile Passport seems to be under the radar for many Americans traveling internationally. The service gives travelers access to a customs express lane, getting you through to baggage claim in minutes. All you have to do is input your passport information, take a selfie and answer the same questions you’d encounter at the standard Customs kiosk. The service is fast, free (unless you want a premium option) and exists thanks to a guy named Hans Miller.
The Washington Post exposes this “best kept secret” only after Mobile Passport is removed from Washington Dulles airport. Coincidence?

The Washington Post story conveniently ignores this service is now gone at their largest local international airport. It would be nice to know why.

Capsu78
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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by Capsu78 » Sat Jul 13, 2019 3:01 pm

SHHHHSH! If EVERYBODY is special, ain't NOBODY special!!!
Been using GE for 5 years on 4 internationals a year and can honestly say I have avoided some major lines.

HawkeyePierce
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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by HawkeyePierce » Sat Jul 13, 2019 4:48 pm

Artsdoctor wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:16 am
mrb09 wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 12:23 am
I have TSA-Pre but not global entry. I tried the mobile app coming into LAX, LAX (as usual) was pretty disorganized, there were no signs but I think a guy waived me through a mobile only line. Took same amount of time as for regular line. I've seen actual kiosks at SFO, but not at LAX (may have been because it was the "semi international" terminal for Mexican/Central American flights)

It won't save data unless you pay for it, which (for the free version) pretty much means you need to take a selfie and picture of your passport as you're de-planing.

Idea is good. Might work at a better airport than LAX.
Try Global Entry. I've never had any problems at LAX and it is incredibly fast (especially when you look at that line you're walking past--which can be uncomfortable).
I've been curbside in two minutes at LAX with Global Entry. Saves tons of time.

mchampse
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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by mchampse » Sat Jul 13, 2019 5:57 pm

If you live near the Canadian border to travel to Canada often, you can get Nexus. Nexus gives you the benefits of Global Entry and Pre as well as the equivalent programs in Canada. And it costs half of what GE costs.

The only issue is that once approved, you can only go to certain enrollment centers for your “interview” which is either in Canada or a border town. There’s also a big backlog to get an appointment (at least when I first did it). I had to time a visit to Canada with when I could get an appointment. Recently renewed and they just sent new cards in the mail.

If you plan to travel internationally at all and you already plan to get Pre, spending the extra $15 is a no brained to me. You can still use Mobile Passport, but it’s nice to have the option of which to use depending on the lines when you cross.

donaldc
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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by donaldc » Sat Jul 13, 2019 8:09 pm

GE is also accepted in other countries.
I have APEC business travel card (ABTC). Skip immigration lines in 19 countries including USA, Mexico and Canada.
Travel Visa free.

huai
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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by huai » Sat Jul 13, 2019 8:16 pm

I have both GE and mobile passport for iOS. Current version of MP is riddled with bugs and I would consider the free version near unusable for those traveling with family.

The problem is 4 fold:

1) the free version does not allow you to save a profile meaning that every time you travel you have to re-enter all info for every travel member

2) it collects full info for every traveler (paper customs form only requires head of family passport info), this includes the traveller photo that is extremely finicky in terms of photo placement, size and smile

3) there is currently a bug in iOS where every single date you enter (DOB, issue date, expiration date) is saved off by one (e.g. 4/30 becomes 5/1)

4) info validation does not happen until you hit submit at the very end

These 4 things together make for a miserable experience reentering the same info 3 times per traveller. Ever try to photograph a 3 year old in the correct passport position? Try doing that 9 times.

The re-entry of this data while I was standing in regular line took me as long as the full line wait.

If you have the premium version and can set the traveller profiles up front that would be great, and would be much quicker than the normal line at my airport (MCO)

On the other hand for a single traveller I would much rather pay $100 for 5 years of GE + PreCheck (reimbursed by AMEX of course) than $75 for MP premium

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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by white_water » Sat Jul 13, 2019 11:18 pm

Mobile Passport vs. Global Entry.

G.E. interview reservations are weeks to 2 months behind at many locations.
But if you have your application in, paid, and are conditionally approved, you can do an " interview upon re-entry" when returning to the US from a foreign country. Some Canadian airports with US immigration presence also allow it after a flight from the US. I did that, hand no problems and nearly no waiting.

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ResearchMed
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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by ResearchMed » Sun Jul 14, 2019 7:34 am

white_water wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 11:18 pm
Mobile Passport vs. Global Entry.

G.E. interview reservations are weeks to 2 months behind at many locations.
But if you have your application in, paid, and are conditionally approved, you can do an " interview upon re-entry" when returning to the US from a foreign country. Some Canadian airports with US immigration presence also allow it after a flight from the US. I did that, hand no problems and nearly no waiting.
Interesting.
How does this work? Is there a special GE desk with someone just sitting there, airside? If not, how is a "re-entry" person distinguishable from others at the regular GE door?

RM
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MBB_Boy
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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by MBB_Boy » Sun Jul 14, 2019 10:54 am

Horsefly wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:33 pm
We've had Global Entry for years, but on our return trip from Australia in April we decided to try mobile passport. It was probably just as easy. We love Precheck that comes with Global Entry, but when our current Global Entry comes up for renewal we may just cut back to Precheck by itself and use mobile passport for our international from now on.
It's a $15 difference over 5 years. Why bother cutting back?

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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by bgreat » Sun Jul 14, 2019 12:10 pm

ResearchMed wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 7:34 am
white_water wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 11:18 pm
Mobile Passport vs. Global Entry.

G.E. interview reservations are weeks to 2 months behind at many locations.
But if you have your application in, paid, and are conditionally approved, you can do an " interview upon re-entry" when returning to the US from a foreign country. Some Canadian airports with US immigration presence also allow it after a flight from the US. I did that, hand no problems and nearly no waiting.
Interesting.
How does this work? Is there a special GE desk with someone just sitting there, airside? If not, how is a "re-entry" person distinguishable from others at the regular GE door?

RM
I've only ever entered at SFO since this was introduced: there there's a special sign, GE interview people are directed past the GE machines and directly to a desk beside the desk where the regular global entry agent sits. That desk wasn't staffed, but I imagine the next closest agent would take such an entry (and possibly direct them to secondary for processing? I can't imagine the primary officer dealing with the interview). Most of the times I've been at SFO, there was always an agent at the "regular" GE desk, checking receipts and handling entries for people who hit issues with the machine.

Every airport seems to handle GE differently, so I imagine the interview on entry process also varies by location.

Now the nice thing about GE is that it's available to an increasing number of nationalities, whereas mobile passport is only for US citizen. It's nice to get humane treatment at the US border for what amounts to a bribe. (Fortunately I rarely have to travel there anymore, but it was worth it for the 2 years of regular trips.)

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Watty
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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by Watty » Sun Jul 14, 2019 12:17 pm

Hummm....

Maybe my memory is faulty but aren't there all sorts of signs in the customs area telling you that using cell phones is forbidden?

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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by themesrob » Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:54 am

tried Mobile Passport once returning to EWR from Europe after one of my old co-workers evangelized to me about it. after filling everything out and submitting, the app spat back an error message and told us to go through manual processing. I'm not sure what popped up on the guy's computer screen when we stepped up to the window, but he said "did you try to use that dumb app? It does this a lot. sorry about this." and then proceeded to ask us about 5x the number of normal questions. Obviously anecdotal, and I'm not even sure what the actual problem was, but I'm sticking to GE.

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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by michaeljc70 » Mon Jul 15, 2019 10:48 am

I have Global Entry and use that. One thing I didn't see addressed is if there is more of a likelihood of being stopped/questioned (even if in a shorter line) using the MP. With the MP you don't go through a background check and interview.

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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by bgreat » Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:45 am

Watty wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 12:17 pm
Hummm....

Maybe my memory is faulty but aren't there all sorts of signs in the customs area telling you that using cell phones is forbidden?
Indeed. At EWR the signs are right beside each other.

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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by BogleMelon » Mon Jul 15, 2019 12:46 pm

I have used it last June at JFK. I was traveling internationally with my wife, once in the airport, I opened the App, entered our information, took 2 selfies and answered the short custom declaration form. We had some snacks (nuts) so I answered "Yes" to the question that asks about food.
I then followed the signs to a line, but an employee guided me that this line is not the right one (despite the clear signs). I followed other sets of signs, I found a line for both (Mobile app+active veterans+diplomats) with only one person waiting. Once I entered the line, an officer called that person, and then instantly another officer called us and at this point, I had already skipped long lines of regular customs.
I showed the officer the bar code the app generated, he scanned it and asked for the passports, and asked about the food I declared. No more questions asked, no nothing. Gave us back the passports and we were in the checked luggage area waiting for our bags. It took like 2 minutes maximum from entering the line to exiting, and may 2 additional minutes or so to enter the information in the app (you can pay a membership to have your information saved if you are traveling frequently, instead of manually entering it each trip)
The app saved us a lot of time and was easy to use. I would definitely use it again.
I don't know how it compares to the global entry since I don't have it.
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Re: WaPo: "Mobile Passport" is the best-kept secret in air travel

Post by criticalmass » Mon Jul 15, 2019 1:01 pm

Regarding Dulles Airport’s removal of Mobile Passport Control after they implemented facial recognition scanning of international arrival passengers:

Per Flyer Talk, per Washington Post reporter, per MWAA, per CBP:

“Dulles Airport did have automated passport control kiosks (APC) and up until recently, we had the Mobile Passport Control app (MPC) for U.S and Canadian citizens. We have removed these options at the request of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). They have chosen to implement a newer technology using 100% biometric entry at Dulles International Airport, which means that all travelers will have their likeness compared to passport photos on record during the admissions process. We were informed that it would be significantly quicker to process travelers using biometric entry than Mobile Passport Control, which reduces wait times for all travelers.

We have not fully seen that result and have asked CBP to allow Mobile Passport as an option again. Recently, we were notified they will bring back Mobile Passport (MPC); however, we haven't been provided a date yet for re-implementation. MPC will surely speed up the arrivals process for all U.S. and Canadian Citizens; and improve the flow of our visitors queue as well.

We greatly appreciate all feedback from our customers and we look forward to the opportunity to welcome you to a much better experience on your next visit.


Airport Operations/Passenger Services Division
Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/31298010-post10.html

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