Sunday, September 27, 2020

Flying High!

Today I flew to New York. And stayed for three hours. 

This was my first flight in 222 days. 222! In 2019 I flew on (after a quick count) 34 flights. We are nearly done with 2020 and I have flown twice. I hate Covid. 

It felt great. I felt safe. 

So why did I fly to JFK for three hours? One, because I love flying and would do it daily. Second, because I love airports. I love watching people from all over the world come together in one place. I love thinking that everyone I see is going somewhere. Airports are magical to me. 

And third, I flew to JFK to complete my Global Entry interview (which took 306 days to get approved!). Why not do my interview at the MSP airport? Because there are no interviews for the next 18 months and this flight was only $92 round trip. And I wanted an excuse to get on a flight and dip my toes into travel.

What is Global Entry? For $100 you get to sail through TSA pre-check at an airport and get some global entry benefits as well. I'm taking this opportunity to compare options because I'm passionate about this shit:
  • Global Entry. $100 for FIVE years. Gets you TSA pre-check and some entry benefits as well if you travel internationally. Also REAL ID compliant. 
  • TSA pre-check. $85 for FIVE years. Gets you TSA pre-check. Skip this. Spend $15 more and go straight to Global Entry. 
  • Clear. $180 per YEAR! Biggest waste of money! Don't buy it. It is the dumbest thing in the travel industry and I'm embarrassed by it every time I walk by. Don't do it. Please. Instead get Global Entry. 
  • REAL ID. This isn't really related, but since I'm on a soap box I want to speak to REAL IDs. If you own a passport or Global Entry do NOT spend money on a REAL id to travel. It is a complete waste of money. Just travel with your passport - even domestically. If you don't have a passport or Global Entry, get that instead of a REAL ID as it will serve more than one purpose and is roughly the same cost and application process. If something in your brain tells you traveling with your passport domestically is scary, get that shit out of your brain. Go to therapy if that helps - it will probably be cheaper.
Back to my day...I started the morning sitting at Republic's bar near Concourse D where I enjoyed a (overly-priced) bloody mary. Regardless of my departure gate I often wander to Republic because they have live music. Well, pre-Covid (I hate Covid). The airport was quiet. Almost everything was closed. The only breakfast served in the entire terminal is McDonalds (other than "gas station" food). Weird weird times. But I met a couple wonderful people - which is the best part of travel.

Fabulous (Overpriced) Bloody Mary

Happy Traveler

Empty MSP

I boarded the plane and it felt so good. For those that love travel you will get it when I say it felt like I was returning home. I flew Delta and it felt very safe. The plane only had 16 passengers (for a 160 capacity plane) so it was near empty. I suspect that helped. Everyone wore masks. 

And I have been waiting for it

Empty Delta Flight DL0402

Masked up in my happy place!

The flight was uneventful. I worked a bit, listened to some great music, and took in all that I enjoy about flying. 
Overlooking New York

New York

Upon arriving in New York it hit me the world has changed since my last flight. I was greeted with a "Welcome to New York State Traveler Health Form" I had to complete before entering. It will be used for contact tracing. I exited the plane excited to see JFK and all I saw was an empty terminal. I mean...eerily empty. It was actually sad. Almost all the stores were closed (and I arrived at noon). One of my favorite airport experiences are lounges and the only one open was Air India, where I was the only visitor and was served food in individually wrapped containers. I hate Covid. The arrival and departure monitors were nearly empty!

Contract Tracing Form - New York

Empty JFK

Meal at Air India Lounge

Sign at JFK

Empty Arrival Monitors

After a bite to eat I arrived at the Global Entry Enrollment Center and within ten minutes completed my interview. You don't need to say it...I already know this was crazy. It is just who I am. 

Global Entry

So I made my way back to Terminal B where I bought a Corona and was forced to drink it at the gate since the only seating in the entire airport is at a gate. Weird weird times. 

Corona at the Gate

The flight back was uneventful. I didn't go immediately home though. Instead I went to the MSP lounge, grabbed another free meal and drink, met some lovely people with as much passion for travel as I, and waited as long as I could to suck up all I enjoy about airports. And finally, after making my way through the "Welcome to Minnesota" sign I walked through a completely empty baggage claim and was greeted by my lovely daughter - less than 12 hours since being dropped off.

MSP PGA Lounge

Welcome to Minnesota!

Empty MSP Baggage Claim

I want to speak about traveling during Covid as I know some of you are "travel shaming" me. And I get it. We all have a different tolerance of risk. I decided months ago, in order to be happy, I would simply follow CDC guidelines as I transverse through life. I followed all of them during this trip and I felt safe. I will now get tested in five (5) days and go on living in a world with Covid.

I am so happy! It felt great to get back in the air. As I said, I am just beginning to "dip my toes back into travel" so we shall see you again. Not as quickly as I wish, but I will be back. 

Safe travels my friends. - Rae Ann

  • Days: One (1)
  • Countries: One (1)
  • States. Two (2)
  • Miles: 2,600
  • Flights: Two (2)
  • Views in blog: 161,974
  • Cost: $92 flight and $25 for an overly priced bloody mary
  • Happiness level from flying: 10/10


  1. I love this! I'm still waiting on my approval for my renewal before I can even think about scheduling so interview. Good to know what my options are!

  2. Thanks Rae Ann - I enjoyed reading about your travels today and also about the education on Global Entry.