Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Chengdu Trip #7 - LAX and Home

The Bradley Terminal Immigrations/Customs control at LAX is really hit-and-miss. During my last trip, the entire process from the gate to luggage in hand took only 15 minutes. Tonight, I called Leon when we landed at 9:13pm and I didn't exit the terminal building until 10:40pm. That's almost an hour and a half though my turn at the immigration counter only took <10 seconds.

My flight was right on time but we had to dock at the remote facility again. That's always a bad sign since it means that the regular gates are full, which equals long lines at immigrations. Once again, most of the lines were marked for international visitors and only 3 out of 17 or 18 lines were for US citizens and permanent residents. However, it appeared that people with Green Cards were also required to scan their fingerprints under the US-VISIT program and since we got in behind a Mexicana flight, most of the people in my line needed to have their hands scanned. There must have been close 100 people in each line but only 2 agents per line. Even if the average service time was 30 seconds, it would take almost an hour to clear the line. The actual service times were much longer tonight since the computer network went down every 2 minutes as well, and it appears that we can't do anything here in the US without a computer. How did they clear people though immigration before computers?

So after sitting on my ass for 13 hours, I get to stand in line (or lines since you have to line up multiple times just to exit the terminal) for another hour. This also made Leon drive around the airport for an extra 40 minutes waiting for me. On the way home, I stopped at In-and-Out and got a double-double; I feel much better now. :)

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