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Automated Passport Control at US Airports

Discussion in 'Society and Culture' started by Allene, Aug 22, 2015.

  1. Allene

    Allene Registered User

    This has apparently been around as early as 2013, but we didn't have to deal with it until August 18th, when we had the misfortune to be introduced to it at Pearson International in Toronto on the way back from Nova Scotia.

    The article below sounds like it is helpful at least some of the time, but I doubt they have organized it as poorly as Toronto:

    Automated Passport Kiosks Haven't Solved All the U.S.'s Arrivals Delays – Skift

    Toronto's system took us 2 hours to navigate (including Security, which was at least a normal hassle and didn't take more than about 15 min. of that 2 hours). Toronto, which has a serious lack of signage that adds to the disorganization, has it organized as follows:

    After a long, and I do mean long, walk from the gate of your incoming flight, you arrive at US Customs. The process is divided into six steps. overseen by rude airport employees:

    1. Join a long, snaking queue that goes up and down repeatedly. Then you show someone your passport and boarding pass. (We had boarding passes printed off a laptop at my sister's. They passed muster at this point.)

    2. Go to a large monitor with names of ticket holders, their destinations, and another section with lists of the flights we came in on and the status of baggage processing. (We are not told at this point that we need to wait here until our baggage is processed in some other area and our names are displayed on the screen, so we mistakenly move on to the third step, but later get sent back here. The processing of our baggage took one hour.

    3. The automated machines here read your boarding pass. It wouldn't work. Airport employee said it was because of the home-printed boarding passes that Air Canada endorses at their site and that passed muster at Step 1. We were sent to Customer Service at the other side of the room to have them printed on site, then back to the automated boarding pass reader, which still won't work. The same airport employee informs us that we need to go back to Step 2 and wait for our names to show up on the monitor, where as previously mentioned we stand in front of it for an hour, then back to Step 3 to get the boarding pass read.

    4. To the Passport Control machine to get a photo taken and fill in the questionnaire that we used to fill in on paper. Printed photo pops out.

    5. We get into another long line and present said photo, passport, and boarding pass to someone who checks it against us and waves us on to the next line.

    6. Finally we are in a line to see an actual US Customs agent, who checks everything over again and refuses to even look at us.

    After all that, we are sent outside the secure area of the airport and forced to go through Security all over again, even though we'd been through it on our first connecting flight earlier that morning. (They did that when we came into Pearson from Minn./St. Paul at the beginning of our vacation as well.)

    So there you have it: two hours of misinformation, redundancy, and rudeness. Have any of you around here been through automated US Passport Control at other airports? I am hoping to hear that it is better organized at other airports. It cannot get any worse than Pearson. We are never going back there again. A number of people missed their flights and some were in tears.
    dsl987 likes this.

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