Jump to content

Are Us Airports Really That Bad?


  • Please log in to reply
39 replies to this topic

#11
EJLarson

EJLarson
  • LocationTexas and Parque Chacabuco

fifs2, on 30 November 2015 - 07:13 PM, said:

Love the Bill Bryson comment that staff at US airports are always so mean and grumpy because having to attend to passengers gets in the way of their stuffing their faces eating time...
No doubt true, but how about this one:

Earlier this year my wife and I flew from Cagliari, Sardinia, to Rome Fiumicino. Waited and waited and waited - finally the bags start rolling down the carousel (the wrong carousel, according to the arrival monitor, but what the hell).

After a while the carousel stopped and the monitor announced that our flight's baggage drop was complete - with at least a third of us still standing there (like boludos, but that's not very Italian).

As we all race to customer service a uniformed guy comes from behind an Official Door, waving his hands and talking fast. Turns out the baggage guys hit their break time just about the halfway mark of unloading our plane, but not to worry: they'll be back to work in twenty minutes and you'll all get your bags. They did, and we did.

All airports are equally terrible when you're tired, frustrated, delayed till you miss your connection, etc., etc., etc.
-- Ed

#12
PaulBee

PaulBee

ElNicoOriginal, on 30 November 2015 - 05:33 PM, said:

"Our security protocols are needlessly tedious, and the connection process for passengers arriving from overseas is horrendously time-consuming. All passengers arriving from other countries are required to clear immigration, re-check their bags, and undergo the Transport Security Administration rigmarole, even if they're merely in transit to a third country."

For a second I thought she was talking about Heathrow.
   And if the person transiting in USA is required to have a visa to enter USA, they must have it, even if
they´re only changing planes.  IE:  A Thai person flew from Thailand to US, in order to change planes and go to Canada.  The Thai lacked the necessary visa to enter US and was returned to Thailand.  
Similarly, a border guard at Miami knew I was to get on a plane to Toronto in a half hour, but wanted to make sure I wasn´t bringing too much alcohol into the US.
In contrast, when going from Buenos Aires to Toronto, with a stop at Santiago, we were just put into a pleasant transit area with shops and restaurants. We didn´t have to get our luggage or go through immigration or anything.

#13
PaulBee

PaulBee
Personally, I avoid US airports if possible.  Even before 9/11, non-US people especially could be treated rudely and sadistically. It depends what category they put the person in.  At one point, Canada even issued a travel advisory warning people of middle
eastern extraction not to use US airports.  One Canadian citizen was illegally sent to a third country against his will (Syria)
where he was tortured for months.  I could write a book. There´s a lot on YouTubes about US border guards.  Things may
or may not have improved recently, but there remain a lot of flight delays in US.   I have no problems with the workers who
scan luggage, ec.  Its´ the immigration guards that can be rude, paranoid, sadistic and time consuming.  Miami has a bad reputation for that.

#14
PaulBee

PaulBee
I should add that non-US citizens seem to have a harder time at US airports than US citizens.

#15
thorsten

thorsten
  • LocationPalermo

PaulBee, on 30 November 2015 - 07:57 PM, said:

I should add that non-US citizens seem to have a harder time at US airports than US citizens.

It depends. I didn't appreciate too much waiting half an hour in a room and answering the same questions to three different immigration agents (do they really think someone who has something bad in mind would switch his story there?), but on the positive side, the service to clean my notebook display (I guess to scan for explosive residues) is really cool; just wipe the keyboard the next time too, please ;)

#16
ElNicoOriginal

ElNicoOriginal
  • LocationCap Fed

PaulBee, on 30 November 2015 - 07:46 PM, said:

And if the person transiting in USA is required to have a visa to enter USA, they must have it, even if
they´re only changing planes.  IE:  A Thai person flew from Thailand to US, in order to change planes and go to Canada.  The Thai lacked the necessary visa to enter US and was returned to Thailand.  
Similarly, a border guard at Miami knew I was to get on a plane to Toronto in a half hour, but wanted to make sure I wasn´t bringing too much alcohol into the US.
In contrast, when going from Buenos Aires to Toronto, with a stop at Santiago, we were just put into a pleasant transit area with shops and restaurants. We didn´t have to get our luggage or go through immigration or anything.

The reason I mentioned Heathrow is because 1) the article is from BBC 2) Heathrow is by far the worst airport I've been through. As for requiring a visa to transit through the US being something annoying. The UK has exactly the same deal with "Direct Airside Transit" visas. You can check out the list of countries whose citizens require that visa just for the pleasure of passing through the UK: https://en.wikipedia...Kingdom#Transit
Two of the most popular sayings of Kirchneristas: "Macri is a dictator" and "I'm not a Kirchnerista".

#17
Gringoboy

Gringoboy
  • LocationLa Lucila, Buenos Aires
I always think arriving is the best part, particularly when going home.
Heathrow is however the dullest and most sterile airport to arrive in. You don't even get to see the light of day till you get outside, hardly.
Ezeiza on the other hand tells you that you're back in Argentina with a bang, especially when sixteen planes arrive from Miami all at once and the customs officials start licking their lips at the thought of all those juicy iPhones and MacBooks they can confiscate.
I wrote a small ditty about my last arrival in Ezeiza, which nearly involved fisticuffs which I'll try and dig out.
I have a love/hate relationship with EZE as it's the airport where so much emotion has been felt by both of us over the years.
Posted Image

#18
Gringoboy

Gringoboy
  • LocationLa Lucila, Buenos Aires
Here we go:

Welcome back to Argentina, extended cut.

I know we've all been there and done that, but picture the scene...
Dozens of passengers, dazed, sweaty and with eyes propped open with match sticks, shuffle en masse a la Walking Dead, in the general direction of SALIDA.
The procession comes to a grinding halt at immigration, where you are met with line after line of yet more zombies, sans air conditioning and 13 hours in the air seems a mere trifle against the interminable welcome of Ezeiza.
Having ticked all the right boxes with the passport official who couldn't seem to give a damn anyway and totally ignores your AFIP customs form (will make excellent loo paper), you fall under the misguided notion that you're on the home straight.
Wrong! Gird your loins.
In my case, I simply followed the snaking mass of other weary souls and headed for what I saw as an ill defined bunch of lines waiting for the coup de grace, otherwise known as the search and destroy customs team. On taking my place in what I perceived to be roughly the correct spot in the queue, a foppish, gallic looking and I have to say, quite handsome fellow, snarled at me to get to the back of the line and his wife, who seemed so irate to have lost the power of speech, merely drove steel stakes through my soul with her eyes.
Passengers fighting in airport terminals is never a pretty sight, but since my new Louis Vuitton friend began to snarl even louder and more venomously, I gave him the Anglo Saxon reply, which simply reduced him to muttering something about pigs and truffles.His wife looked like she needed a drink or possibly something more soothing, as did I.
Don't get me wrong; we Brits would queue up for for the hangman's noose.

And so, the lads at Ezeiza appear to have perfected the art of luggage inspections in the same way that south sea islanders of old had perfected cannibalism.On approaching the X-Ray machines before my final goal, which I could see in the near distance over their heads, marked EXIT in large green letters, I unexpectedly had a moment of terror and panic rush down my spine.
I was expecting a SWAT team at any moment.
Would the death ray machines see my haul of tea bags, various condiments and numerous items of an electronic flavour?
As the cases slid far too slowly through the machine, I stole a glance at the customs operator and decided that he didn't look such a menacing fellow after all. And then he stopped the machine, my cases came to an abrupt halt and in a split second I was overwhelmed with an urge to flee the scene.
At which he simply approached me and asked rather too menacingly for my liking 'do you intend to sell these items sir?'
'What items sir?' I asked in my finest Queen's English, since I conveniently forgot how to speak Spanish in that moment.
'Usted es Argentino señor?'
'No sir, British.' Puffing my chest out for effect.
'Oh, that's alright then, you're free to go, enjoy your holiday.'
'I will and thank you sir!'
You know that feeling when you say to yourself 'better get going, but not too fast or he might call you back and in a loud voice, shout 'Sr Thomas!!!''??
That was one of those moments and so I made haste as nonchalantly as I could and didn't look back, but grateful to the Argentine state for at least providing me some free loo paper, which was sort of a first.

Posted Image

#19
JuliaGrace

JuliaGrace
I flew to Buenos Aires on Monday from Boston with connections in New York and Sao Paulo. In Boston they were really strict with how big my carry on suitcase could be and actually pulled me from the security line and made me re-distribute clothing into my checked bag (which one of the employees had very kindly retrieved for me because it had already been sent away). Other than that little hiccup I had no issue. I left JFK to visit a friend so I had to pass through security a second time. My backpack was run through the scanner twice but other than that nothing unusual happened. Baggage and carry on policies are much stricter in the U.S. so be prepared to pay (A LOT) if your bags are overweight. If you're traveling with a lot of luggage I would recommend traveling on TAM. They allow you to check 2 suitcases and they can weigh 70lbs each. This is only for flights to and from the U.S.

#20
Gringoboy

Gringoboy
  • LocationLa Lucila, Buenos Aires
I had a very pleasant experience at Heathrow (British Airways) when leaving for BA.
Travelling alone, I had three cases and a backpack. The assistant was more than helpful, told me to take the smaller case as hand luggage and didn't charge me either for the overweight or the extra case. I didn't really understand why, neither did I ask but was very thankful.
Posted Image




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users