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Coming home: sequestration, delays, and you

Coming home: sequestration, delays, and you

Jun 11th, 2013, 03:56 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,168
Coming home: sequestration, delays, and you

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.
Ackislander is offline  
Jun 11th, 2013, 04:27 AM
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 7,763
It's inconvenient to be sure but you'll end up at your final destination sooner or later.
sparkchaser is offline  
Jun 11th, 2013, 04:50 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 3,075
We came back from Europe about a month ago, and the visitor line at O'Hare was the longest I've ever seen it by a wide, wide margin. As we walked past, they were telling people joining the end of the line that it may take three hours! Of course, all their bags were coming out in the meantime, and staff in the baggage claim area were piling bags between the carousels. It was a real mess.

We have Global Entry, so I never got a good look at the US line (they were being sent to the set of stations on the other side of the ORD immigration hall), but I have to guess it was not good. When the bags from our flight from Frankfurt started coming out, there were maybe 15-20 people at most waiting at the carousel.
ms_go is online now  
Jun 11th, 2013, 05:43 AM
Join Date: Sep 2011
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I hate to think how long it took non US passport holders to clear immigration and customs. Even before sequestration it could take over an hour to clear passport control. Goodness knows how long it takes now.
hetismij2 is offline  
Jun 11th, 2013, 06:10 AM
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 6
What have peoples' experiences been in the other direction, leaving the US on an international flight? We're flying out of Dulles (DC area) on Air France to Paris in two weeks. Should we arrive more than three hours early?
Best of luck to all travelers?
ljjosette is offline  
Jun 11th, 2013, 07:30 AM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 202
On April 15 we flew Delta to Amsterdam from Newark. It took a long time to get through security but we had allowed three hours from our arrival at Newark. People were patient. There were only two stations open, but people were not cutting in. An employee kept the traffic orderly. While in line people started receiving the news about the Boston Marathon explosion. The woman standing behind me told me her son had just called because he was driving to pick someone up there. This threw security into perspective, as a terrorist attack on our own soil always will.

We made our flight, but we needed the extra time, or should I say we would have needed extra time had the plane left on time. We were delayed eight hours due to Delta's bringing a plane to the gate which needed repairs. Another plane was flown up from Atlanta. We were reduced to sleeping on the airport floor, and missed an entire day of our trip.

Coming back from Edinburgh to Newark on May 6 we went quickly through customs. There seemed to be plenty of staff there. It was one of the quickest exits we ever made. Unfortunately, my suitcase never left Edinburgh. I was told it was delayed at customs, but I never found out why. It was delivered to the house two days later intact.

In short, we had the most travel interruption ever in a single vacation, but none of it due to sequestration.

Bazonia is offline  
Jun 11th, 2013, 07:39 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
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ljjosette asks, "Should we arrive more than three hours early? [at Dulles}]

Our outbound security in Boston took the usual 45 minutes or so but the process of check-in was great because of extremely efficient Aer Lingus staff, who may have been making up for what was ahead. Thanks to them!

So the short answer to your question is that unless there is further notice from the airline, the usual three hours should be fine.
Ackislander is offline  
Jun 11th, 2013, 01:09 PM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,989
Hi Ackislander, sorry about your incovenience. Thanks for the heads-up. I will be returning to Logan from London in early July. For the first time, no one in the family (sunning themselves at the Cape) is available to pick me up so I will be getting a cab home - about 10 miles.

At least I won't be keeping anyone waiting outside the airport.
latedaytraveler is offline  
Jun 11th, 2013, 01:24 PM
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 432
What does 'sequestration' mean in this context? I thought it was a financial term.
mjdh1957 is offline  
Jun 11th, 2013, 01:45 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 202
In this context it means cutbacks; fewer employees to pay, usually by cutting hours.
Bazonia is offline  
Jun 12th, 2013, 02:59 AM
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And I wrote this not as a whine -- things happen -- but as a warning for people with connections from their port of entry to other destination.
Ackislander is offline  
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