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Coming home: sequestration, delays, and you

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We travelers spend a lot of time worrying about connections and timing while in Europe.

On our recent trip to England and France, everything worked smoothly until we came home.

As a result of sequestration, Boston and Chicago passengers could no longer go through US Customs and Immigration in Dublin, though JFK passengers still could.

From landing at Logan (Boston), our Aer Lingus flight had to wait half an hour for a gate. Then from the time we left the aircraft until our driver met us on the street, it was an hour and a half. It took almost an hour for US passport holders to go through Immigration. Owing to sequestration, about a third of the stations were not operational.

The good news is that by the time we were through in Immigration, our luggage was just circulating on the conveyor. We grabbed the bags and headed for the exit as usual, landing cards in hand. But there was no informal "Easy Pass" exit, no equivalent of the Green Line in London. There was a long line that doubled up and down the hall. Every card was examined, every passenger questioned, except when once in a while the line would speed right up because a supervisor was previewing passengers and letting them through. But it was another 45 minutes from claiming the baggage to getting out.

There was plenty of hostility as people tried to jump the line, and there were plenty of passengers who were going to miss connections because the process took twice as long as normal, making a legal connection impossible.

I don't know if others have had this experience elsewhere or if it is limited to Logan, but it is a real difficulty for returning travelers who have onward flights as well as an enormous timewaster for many others and a terrible welcome to the United States for visitors from abroad. I shudder to think what this will be like if it extends into the peak season.

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