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Two Annoying Things at Airports That Could Be Easily Fixed

first class cheaper
Written by Charlie

Traveling through an airport can be a frustrating thing and here are two things that I find very annoying – mostly because they could be handled in a much better way.

?disclosure?

Airports – to one person it is a place that causes panic and to another, a place of comfort. It all depends on a lot of things when you are transiting an airport (and yes, having elite status can really help!) but there are two things that I have been finding increasingly annoying at airports – particularly because they are things that should be easy to fix.

Two Annoying Things at Airports That Could Be Easily Fixed

TSA Lines for PreCheck and Priority Customers Being Prematurely Closed or Unavailable
TSA precheck

By Arina P Habich, Courtest of Shutterstock

For those of us with TSA Precheck or priority customers (meaning, traveling on a business/first class ticket or with elite status), we have the timetable for how long it takes us to get through security pretty down pat. It makes traveling through TSA checkpoints not enjoyable but certainly more manageable.

My annoyance with this is when you get to a PreCheck or priority lane and the agent tells you “that lane is closed” and points to the regular line that has hundreds of people in it. This has happened quite a bit in terminals with international flights with foreign carriers and it always frustrates me – especially when I was coming from a tight connection.

Here is part of what makes this so frustrating – they know which flights are departing from the gates past that check point and they know how many people would likely be eligible for priority lanes! I mean, it really isn’t that difficult since our reservation information was made way ahead of time. Why would they close a priority lane (the Precheck lane I can maybe understand a bit) when there are 4 international flights departing within the next 120 minutes? They have one main line but there would be at least 200 people that would be eligible to use a priority lane – why don’t they just schedule the agents accordingly?

I realize this may come across a bit elitist but it is more about the expectations that are built up from a system that normally works a certain way. When TSA decides they will just close a lane that has an effect on hundreds of people (and even those in the general line are now waiting longer because everyone is in the same line), that just doesn’t make any sense.

Customs/Passport Control Lanes Not Being Sufficient

seconduspassport

This one, I guess you could say, makes me even more frustrated! A country has the information ahead of time as to which flights are landing, how many people are about to enter their country, and how many are traveling on foreign passports. I mean, we have to put all that information in the system when we check in!

So, why does a country have 2 passport agents/police officers on duty when 4 international flights land simultaneously?! This is not a one-time thing but something I see in various countries (including the US, but thankfully, I have Global Entry! yet even this can be slow). On one such trip, there were planes dropping off in excess of 850 people, most of whom were foreigners. There was 1 agent working the foreign passport line!!!

WHAT?! Again, that country’s police/agent force knows how many people are about to enter. They should schedule agents appropriately to handle that. Instead, people stood in line for almost 3 hours (some missing their flights) because they had 1 agent handling it (eventually, the 2nd agent started having people come over as well but then would just stop for a while).

I have seen this in the US as well. There are hundreds of people in lines and windows available for up to 20 border patrol agents but only 4 of them are staffed. That is just ridiculous. I understand some people might say “budget” issues in some countries but there has to be a manager that is good with numbers in those offices that can look at an incoming flight manifest and figure out that they should schedule one more officer for two hours at the entry!

Summary

Maybe it is the fact that these two things happened on the same trip recently (different airports in different countries) that made me get so frustrated with it again! 🙂 I know, it can sound very whiney and maybe it is but when the staff of people managing these posts actually know how many travelers will be utilizing them in a certain space of time, it seems crazy and mismanaged that this overcrowding and dreadfully slow lines occur.

Have you experienced this in countries or airports in your travel? What was the longest delay you had as a result?

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About the author

Charlie

Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.

3 Comments

  • Oh yes, totally agree. They have all info to know exactly how many many people will arrive at which times and could schedule their resources. I have wondered about this for years. Seems they don’t really care about it.

  • Similar to your second scenario (but on departure not arrival), I had a situation this past summer departing from VCE to ATL on DL. The airport authorities (presumably) scheduled at least 4 flights (that I counted, might have been more) to the USA, to all leave from gates next to each other, at nearly the same departure time. This was at the end of a concourse too. There was mass confusion as long lines were forming and snaking all over and around, and due to the number of people and the small space you couldn’t tell if you were in the correct line for your flight or not. It was also very noisy, so you couldn’t hear any announcements which made it even more exciting. There were plenty of gates open in other locations. I’m sure there’s some reasoning behind it, but it made no sense and really just fueled an angry crowd of passengers not wanting to miss their flight.

  • I flew from EWR to MIA arriving at 9pm and had 80 min to change terminals and get through security (again). Well, they start closing security areas at 9pm, so 80 min wasn’t enough time. The TSA staff was rude and demeaning and totally unconcerned with the inefficiency of closing yet another lane to merge 150+ people into 2 lanes. Well, I missed my flight due to the extremely rude and indifferent TSA staff. Why do they try to make ordinary travelers into the enemy? We just want to catch our flights, after all. I will avoid MIA, if at all possible, in the future.

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