I just returned home from dropping my kids off at school. On the way back to the parking lot, I overheard two parents talking about air travel. Of course, my ears perked up and I couldn’t resist chiming in when one asked how Korean Air’s Business Class was. I said, “Korean Air Business?! Lucky you! I’ve flown them several times, including on my honeymoon to Bali and it was always great.” RELATED: Here’s How You Can Really Get Upgraded to First Class

I knew one of the parents so I stuck around and chatted with them, especially after they started talking about getting through security and customs lines faster. If you want to breeze through airport security, it’s recommended to get CLEAR (a private security company) and TSA PreCheck

In terms of clearing immigration and customs lines faster when you return to the United States, Global Entry (GE) is a must. Global Entry costs $100, is good for five years and includes TSA PreCheck. TIP: Most premium credit cards will cover the fee every four years.

My wife, kids and I all have NEXUS, which is Canada’s version of Global Entry, but it comes with Global Entry and TSA PreCheck. It’s also half the price, just $50 for five years but no U.S. credit card that I know of covers the fee.

The problem with Global Entry and even more so with NEXUS, is that you need to schedule an appointment for an interview. For NEXUS, the appointment has to be in Canada or at a border town since you meet with both U.S. and Canadian border patrol agents and they’re not easy to find in popular places. That’s why we did ours in Niagara Falls. Here’s my story about our experience.

What inspired this story is that one of the parents said she couldn’t find any Global Entry appointments for 11 months in advance. That’s when her friend said, “Oh, I have the best app for finding one.” That’s when my ears perked up again.

I asked which one she uses because I know there are a lot of services, including some free ones. In 2022, I wrote about a Twitter bot that would tweet openings but it looks like it’s no longer operating. Now their bio points to Globalentrynow.com, which displays slot changes at locations but it’s not nearly as useful as their Twitter bot.

My new friend uses an app called Appointment Scanner, which I realized I’ve written about before when I saw my logo on their website. In my story, I included a reader comment, which turned me on to it last year. They wrote, “A good resource for GE, Nexus, & Sentri interview appointments. appointmentscanner.com It’s a pay service (I have no affiliation). As soon as I signed up I had appointment notifications almost every hour throughout the first few days. I was able to find appointments for 3 people within a week or two of signing up.”

My friend said the app found her an appointment in 10 minutes for Los Angeles and was well worth the $29 she paid for one month of alerts. She also said the L.A. Global Entry office is right near the Proud Bird and the interview took her five minutes.

According to Appointment Scanner’s website, their service scans 24/7 for new appointments to open up. “When you get an alert, jump on the Global Entry / SENTRI / NEXUS site and try to claim it as fast as you can! The average user gets between 10 and 25 appointment alerts per day, so you’ll have many opportunities to grab a convenient appointment in no time.”

I used a similar service last spring when I was trying to find a NEXUS appointment. But Globalentrynotif.com ($20 for 30 days) only searches for Global Entry so it wasn’t very helpful for NEXUS users. But for Global Entry, their bots found appointments multiple times an hour and send you an email to log on to your Discord account. See screenshot below.

So if you’re looking to find a Global Entry or NEXUS and don’t want to have to keep logging on to the government’s website hoping for an opening, save yourself some time by signing up to one of these services.

UPDATE: A reader heard me on the radio talking about this tip and sent me this email: “Just renewed my Global Entry membership in less than 48 hours (and from Santa Barbara no less!). On Wednesday evening I submitted my Global Entry application for renewal. On Thursday evening, received the email that my application was conditionally approved but required the interview. After trying to book an interview appointment (the Trusted Traveler site was unable to give me neither an in-person nor a remote appointment) I remembered your suggestion to Leo Laporte on Ask the Tech Guys for Appointment Scanner. I installed the app this morning and paid the $29. Almost immediately I was receiving alerts about open slots at the LAX Global Entry interview site on La Cienega. I was able to reserve the slot for 7:40pm this evening; my wife and I set out from Santa Barbara at 3:15pm and by 7:45pm we were back on the San Diego Freeway with the Global Entry interview and renewal accomplished – all in less than 48 hours. Many thanks for your tip about Appointment Scanner!”

BTW: If you do happen to be lucky enough to fly Korean Air in Business or First … a little known secret is if you’re celebrating a birthday and let them know in advance, the flight attendants will deliver your loved one a cake after the meal service. Here’s our experience.

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