Customs In Atlanta

Apr 24th, 2007, 08:41 AM
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Customs In Atlanta

We will be going through customs in Atlanta from our flight from Paris. Then we have a tight connection for our flight to SLC. My question is has anyone gone through customs in Atlanta and if so were they very long? I know that when we came back through JFK a couple of years ago it took forever to collect our luggage and then go through customs.
liver227 is offline  
Apr 24th, 2007, 08:47 AM
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how tight
degas is offline  
Apr 24th, 2007, 08:48 AM
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The longest lines I have ever been in at customs is in Atlanta. Not always as bad as sometimes (1.5 hrs) but NEVER has it been the shortest lines I've been in.
TravMimi is offline  
Apr 24th, 2007, 08:50 AM
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one hour or less
degas is offline  
Apr 24th, 2007, 08:51 AM
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Customs are usually a breeze. First you'll need to go through immigration/passport control. If you are not a US citizen/resident, the queue tends to be somewhat longer and the process time takes a bit longer. Depending on if there are other international flights arriving around the same time, it can take anywhere from 30-60min.

Hard to predict how long it would take the luggage to show up in the carrousel--sometimes you barely need to wait but the other times we waited for good 20min.

Just make sure you have adequate time for connection.
W9London is offline  
Apr 24th, 2007, 08:55 AM
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Sorry to say, I think Atlanta immigration/customs is worse than JFK. Atlanta is our home airport, and we really hate facing the hassle when we come home from an international flight. We don't connect, though, so can't advise on that. Our biggest hassle is getting our bags from the final carousel - can take forever - but you will be spared this particular exercise.
noe847 is offline  
Apr 24th, 2007, 08:57 AM
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I usually fly internationally in and out of Atlanta. I find Atlanta customs and passport control to be an abomination.

First, passport control. No quick lines that I have found for American citizens.

After clearing passport control, customs is usually ok.

Then comes another full blown security check. TSA does NOT trust foreign screening. Because you can go from the international arrivals hall directly to all other gates within Hartsfield, TSA puts all arrivals, whether terminating or continuing, through a security check.

If the passport line is long, you can be assured that the security line will be long as well.

bob_brown is offline  
Apr 24th, 2007, 09:23 AM
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bob - I totally agree with you. The overblown security check just to go to the parking lot and drive home is awful. Atlanta USED to be my base airport Delta USED to be my airline. Thankfully I've moved.
TravMimi is offline  
Apr 24th, 2007, 09:43 AM
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I go through customs and immigration in Atlanta routinely and rarely find the wait at immigration to be onerous (and there's essentially no line at all for customs---just walk through and hand your slip of paper to the agent seated there). I typically spend under 10 minutes at passport control. My last trip back from Madrid was the worst, with apparently simultaneous arrivals of 20 or so flights, and still it paled by comparison to experiences in Philadelphia and Vancouver (re-entry to the U.S.).

The re-doing of security at ATL is a pain, and it's recently become much more of pain now that we've got the new rules re carry-on of liquids: anything that you might have purchased in duty free in a European airport will need to be transferred to your checked luggage before you re-check it. If you enter the security after the bag re-check with a nice bottle of brandy or perfume you may have to "surrender" it.

In my case, since I often travel carry-on only, I'd have to somehow arrange for the purchases to be "checked" just for their trip to luggage claim.
Therese is offline  
Apr 24th, 2007, 09:52 AM
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Atlanta used to be my main point of entry to the US (until 2005) and I never had any problems there. I cannot say the same of Miami, Tampa or JFK.
kerouac is offline  
Apr 24th, 2007, 09:53 AM
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Hi liver227,

I regularly clear customs & immigration in ATL. I can tell you that it's seldom a lengthly delay -- but it is a zoo.

I always have to prepare myself -- breathe deeply, walk deliberately, and talk slowly.

Good luck!

swandav2000 is online now  
Apr 24th, 2007, 09:54 AM
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Customs has never been a problem for me. TSA is the PROBLEM. No matter HOW many flights they have coming in they only have a limited number of agents and ALL of the passengers (even those whose flight ENDS in ATL) have to go thru the "harrassment" line. That takes a while!
CarolA is offline  
Apr 24th, 2007, 09:55 AM
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By the way, the check is NOT because the TSA does not trust foreign screening, but because you had access to your checked luggage. So you could access things like knives that are acceptable in checked but not in the terminal area.
CarolA is offline  
Apr 24th, 2007, 10:01 AM
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I must admit that Philadelphia is the cesspool of international arrivals situations.

It beats out Charles de Gaulle for the bottom of the heap among the US and Western European airports.

Munich is a breeze. The customs and border patrol people at the Munich airport set up temporary shop for an incoming flight, check you right there, and then move on to the next flight.

Coming to the US from Munich is an experience as well. First of all the check is highly professional. None of the shouting, fumbling, stupidity that characterizes TSA experiences.

In fact, I find security in ALL airports in Western Europe to be superior to the amateur jobs we get in the USA.

I have an artificial hip that always trips the alarm in the metal detector gate. In the US, a major dramatic production has to be made of it complete with a long duration of spread eagle wanding. (The crowning moment came one day when I rang their bell. Some female bellowed out "MALE ASSIST". I was banished to detention while the "male assist" person shuffled over. When he arrived, I am quite sure he did not know the difference between a cranium and a fibula. His question to me: "Whassa trouble?" My answer: "I have a metal hip." His response: "Yeah? Where 'bouts."

In Germany, the security officer just laughed. My hip looked like a lighthouse beacon on the x-ray.

In both Switzerland and Great Britain, a very courteous agent asked politely if he could feel of my hip. In both cases, well trained fingers ascertained quickly that I had no knife, pistol, box cutter, or other weapon under there. And I went on my way after a quick, but very thorough check. None of this crap of looking for pennies that were in the creases of my pocket or searching for the little pin holding the dry cleaning label that I forgot to remove from my trousers!!

bob_brown is offline  
Apr 24th, 2007, 11:48 AM
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We came back from Grand Cayman last week through Atlanta and we were done in less than a half hour. It was a Sunday afternoon of peak Easter break. I was surprised at how fast and smooth it was.
mauitammy is offline  
Apr 24th, 2007, 01:31 PM
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The last time I entered the U.S. through Atlanta it took 3 hours exactly from getting out of the plane at the gate to reclaiming our luggage. By far the longest part of that process was the very very lengthy Immigration queue- with about 20 different desks open.
Every time before that we've got through in a reasonable time and always managed connections but this time luckily we were taking an overnight in Atlanta.
Frances is offline  
Apr 24th, 2007, 02:27 PM
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Atlanta Hartsfield makes Cahrles De Gaulle and Heathrow seem like a day at the beach. It is the worst!
Toupary is offline  
Apr 24th, 2007, 02:51 PM
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Anybody been thru DFW lately! It makes Atl look like a piece of cake!
jody is offline  
Apr 24th, 2007, 04:25 PM
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Thanks for all of your input,looks like we will be spending the evening either in Atlanta or SLC.
I guess you just have to remain calm and go with the flow.
liver227 is offline  
Apr 24th, 2007, 08:16 PM
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My mother just went through customs in Atlanta ten days ago. She has a pacemaker and they kept her so long that she missed her connection. She had about an hour for the connection.
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