Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Global Entry Random Search?

I’ve been trying to sell Global Entry to all my international travel friends. For $200 you get 5 years of skipping the immigration counter and coming back to the United States free of hassle.

The question I always received was “how do they know you’re not bringing in drugs,” if u skip the desk? The answer is supposed to be because you went through the background screening and interview process making you a trusted traveler.

Today I found out that trust must be earned beyond applying and being approved for the program. After 14 hours in Cathay first, I approached the Global Entry machine, swiped my passport, and took my picture.

With no bags checked I was ready to smell the smells of America for the first time in half a year. Instead, I was told that I was randomly selected for screening.

Randomly selected? What’s the point of Global Entry if I’m just as randomly selected to go through extra security checks as I was before I applied for the program?

The check took only a few seconds as I joked the agent that this was my first time using the system and I wanted a refund for what feels like the old days where I was always randomly selected.

Anyone else have this happen?

You're not in Hong Kong anymore.
You’re not in Hong Kong anymore.


  1. I’m sure you were the first one to ever make the refund joke. I highly doubt they hear that all day long, when they have nothing to do with passengers being randomly selected.

  2. My wife got secondary screening coming back through IAD last summer… Like above, if the random selection falls on you it doesn’t matter at all which program you are in!

  3. “Today I found out that trust must be earned beyond applying and being approved for the program.” Makes sense that they’re doing this – as Reagan said “trust but verify.”

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