We returned from Rome yesterday on Lufthansa, and were stunned by a new experience at JFK. I know that this does not apply to non-US citizens, who post heavily here. But I think it belongs here.
We arrived at a slack time and got off the plane at the head of the pack. When we got to the rope maze and followed the "U.S. Citizen" path, we were offered a field of computer terminals. When I demurred, the herder said, "It's not Global Entry, it's for all citizens."
We had to slide our passports into a tricky horizontal reader and hold them against the glass with our fingertips. After approving a scan of the passport, the terminals took our photos, which we could approve or re-take. We then answered onscreen half of the questions that are on the blue and white Customs form. There was a fingerprint pad, which filled me with dread, but the machine did not order us to use it! The machine printed out thin paper slips with a fuzzy photo of us, which we took to a staffed desk. That person took our Customs questionnaire away from us and stamped the white voucher, and warned us to present it to the Customs officer. I felt like a rube from the sticks because I "know" you need a stamped blue-and-white form to exit Customs. But he said, no, I keep it.
Indeed, we got our luggage, got into the usual exit line, and presented our just-printed white forms to the guy who often says "Any alcohol?" or "Any fruit?". But he just said "Thank you", and we were on our way.
I'm mainly posting this because it was such a huge change from my last 30 entries. Timing really was due more to our position in the plane than the technology, but we were at the luggage carousel in less than 15 minutes, long before the luggage came out. We saw people exiting with blue and white customs forms to present, but we assume they were non-citizens who got them stamped by their interview officer, as always.Edited: 06 June 2014, 22:48