Saturday, March 31, 2012

Global Entry is amazing

I used my Global Entry card for the first time last week. Flew from Argentina (Buenos Aires, EZE/SAEZ) to US (Miami, FL, MIA/KMIA) on AA 964 which landed around 7 p.m. 

Got off the plane (gate D21, if I recall) and pretty much walked all around the airport to get to Immigration. Of course, the queues at Immigration were nightmarishly long and I was happy for the opportunity to test the USCIS CBP kiosks. The first bank of kiosks I saw were "out of service" and my heart sank, since, as I mentioned, the queues were horrendous. Fortunately, I saw a second bank of kiosks about ten feet away and they were available - not one person in line to use them! It took me less than twenty seconds to authenticate myself and pull up my APIS info. Biometric identification and CBP questions (no more forms, yay!) took a few seconds longer and then I got my Customs Clearance ticket!

It was smooth sailing past the crowds via a dedicated lane all the way to the baggage carousels. Zoom zoom zoom. Got my bags and handed my Customs Clearance ticket to the CBP Officer on my way out. Best thing that can happen to a frequent traveler. Well done, CBP! Thank you!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Global Entry

Signed up for USCIS CBP Global Entry. It took ten minutes to fill out an online form. Conditional approval was granted within 12h. Scheduled an interview with an Immigration Officer at Washington Dulles Airport. Pic, prints, instructions - five minutes. Done. Time savings will exceed the fifteen minutes I spent on this. Well done, USCIS. Thank you!

Amitava "Chats" Chatterjee
Sent from my iPad 2

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Clear Air Turbulence, Canadian Airspace. 12/04/11, approximately 8.30 a.m.

In my hundreds and hundreds of flights I have never experienced the kind of turbulence faced earlier today, somewhere northwest of Niagara, in Canadian airspace. I was on JA735A, a fully-loaded 777-381, operated by ANA. I was just stepping into the restroom when the plane dropped. I was lifted off my feet but was able to grab the handicap bar (yes, this is a plane meant for Japanese clientele and they care about such things) which prevented me from flying up to the restroom ceiling. I wasn't even able to shut the door - I just sat down on the toilet and yes, the previous (Japanese) passenger had lowered the lid over the toilet bowl. It was too shaky to get back to my seat so I just hung on and "rode the wave".

This is why one should always, always wear a seatbelt while seated. Clear air turbulence is amazing. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Manchu Wok

Manchu Wok by gate A25 in DFW gets the award for most tasteless noodles. Their pepper chicken is not bad. Orange chicken has too much batter and not enough chicken.

Grade: C

Friday, September 23, 2011

Satellite re-entry

Urgent Airmen Notification - Satellite Re-entry
Notice Number: NOTC3252

Until September 26, 2011
U.S. airspace and territories
Specific instructions and restrictions are available from normal NOTAM sites and local air traffic facilities.

*For the latest information, call your local Flight Service Station at 1-800-WX-BRIEF

Amitava "Chats" Chatterjee
Sent from my iPad

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bad seating

So who designed this seating, really? What was the point in forcing people's legs into each other? Didn't realize matchmaking and footsie was part of the travel ribbon #Fail
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Best airport Chinese Food award!!!!

The best Airport Chinese Food award goes to Panda Express in DCA concourse B, opposite gate 28. Good Kung Pao chicken. good Orange chicken. Good vegetables, relatively crisp. They always have chopsticks and the staff are friendly to boot!