USA '14 – Day 1 – A fast pass for the TSA

20140401-121653.jpgThe first day is always an interesting one as it goes on forever and you end the day feeling knackered having done exactly nothing other than been sat on a plane for nine hours.

Of course the last thing you want, having just stepped irritably off a plane, is to have to stand in line for ages to be accepted in to the country but that is exactly what you have to do.

Last time we were over we waited an hour before were reached the head of the queue during which time Mat nearly collapsed, probably because he was dehydrated. This time the queue was even longer and we looked like we were in for a long wait.

While waiting I kept hearing this woman calling out “have you got Esther?” I assumed that she was looking for her child, of which there were a number freely roaming the floor. Eventually it clicked that she was talking about ETSA, although why she was asking whether we had it when it is a requirement of entry I wasn’t sure.

It turns out that if you have “Esther”, are adults and have visited the US since 2008 you get a magical pass to the front of the line. We ticked all those boxes so were taken to a machine where we each scanned our passports and had our fingerprints and photos taken automatically. We each then received a printout, such as the one shown above, which allowed us to proceed to another queue. As it turned out for some reason it didn’t work for Alex and me but that didn’t matter as at that point we had skipped the line and were free. That was easily an hour saved and brought with it other bonuses too. We got to the baggage early and were able to retrieve our bags without the usual scrum and there was nobody waiting at the car hire desk either.

So we reached our villa earlier than expected, which was a bonus, meaning that we had more time to relax, which really is just a test to see who can stay up the latest. In the end we had all retired to our rooms by 9PM, which my body was reminding me was 2AM UK time.

Tomorrow the holiday begins for real.