“LA International Airport…

7 03 2008

… where the big jet engines roar”

… and the Customs and Immigration and baggage situation gets worse by the year.

There are two lines at Immigration—one for US Residents, and one for Visitors. But the Visitors line is filled with two types of Visa holders—the green Visa Waiver scheme people (like Australians, Brits etc.) and the white form people (like the entire plane loads from Korea and Chile who arrived just before we did). The white form people took at least 5 minutes each to process—some, 10 minutes; the green people took less than 2 minutes to process. Why don’t they create a Visa Waiver line and a white form line? It would save a lot of frustration…

And how come baggage comes out randomly? I checked both my bags in at the same time with the same person who put them on the conveyor at the same time, and got the first one quickly (that’s because of the LONG lines at Immigration). Had to wait AGES for the second. Both had “First class” tags on them (not “Business” as I expected), yet came out with the “Economy” bags.

And then there are the unlabelled long lines for the final check by Customs before you’re through. No-one to supervise the line, no-one to tell you you’re in the correct line, no big columns of green and red to indicate ‘nothing to declare’ or ‘something to declare’. As an aside, while I was waiting in the last line before getting out into the ‘fresh’ LA air, there was a woman at the Customs counter whose bags were being searched. She had plates of food wrapped in foil, raw meat wrapped in plastic, other food in plastic containers. What *was* she thinking???

BTW, I think that “Immigration” is the correct name for it—not one person in authority appeared to be a caucasian American. All the officials seemed to be from somewhere else, just based on their physical appearance.



2 responses

10 03 2008

Sounds like LAX needs a bit of UI work … I know just the person

20 03 2008

Arriving in LAX sucks, especially if you arrive at the same time as a flight of non-English-as-first-language speakers. The green and white forms can be hard enough to fill out when you are a native speaker …
I’ve had times where I got through immigration quickly, my bags had priority labels, and came out quickly. I’ve had times when getting through immigration took so long, my bags had been dumped off the conveyor belt .. ! And other times where you’re just left waiting and jostling with the other 400 tired people on the plane … it’s just not a nice welcome to the country.

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