As an international traveler, waiting in customs is a pain, but now that more people are traveling the waiting times have gotten longer moving through U.S customs the last three years.
Because there aren’t enough gates for the incoming flights, planes sit idle on the ramp for sometimes up to an hour. It then becomes so crowded passengers are then bused to the terminal so they can enter the Customs area of the airport.
Here’s what to think about:
- First the number of people waiting to clear customs has gone up nearly 78,000 from 2012, also with that the waiting time has doubled.
- Second the arriving passengers from overseas has grown to 2.2 million and the the flights have increased to 22,000.
The Customs area can process 900 passengers per hour there just aren’t enough Customs officers to cover the amount of over flowing international travelers.
It’s not just the amount of people coming in that’s slowing down the time it takes to go through Customs. It’s the passengers pack prohibited food and produce items, causing more screenings.
What is Ft. Lauderdale airport doing to prevent such long waits? For one, by 2017 Terminal 4 is being rebuilt with a larger Customs area, also an additional federal inspection area on Terminal 1. Another step being added is 10 more automated passport kiosks, which is costing $600,000, this making it easier for U.S. citizens, Canadians, legal permanent residents and some Europeans who have special waivers to move faster through the Customs process.
They’re hoping that with all these new additions making it through Customs will be smoother as to attract more international travelers. Ft. Lauderdale plans on spending $2.3 billion dollars once everything is done.
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