Well I’m sitting in the Miami Airport having a second breakfast! I have several hours to kill. The flight from Santiago was delayed. They started us boarding quite late and they went through all our carry-on before we boarded. We were exactly one hour late taking off but must have had a tail wind as we were only a half hour late landing in Miami.
Then the real fun began! I’ve done Immigration & Customs in several countries now so am in a position to evaluate a bit. Mexico and Chile have a series of long winding “lanes” you weave through and then at the head of the line, you wait until a number tells you which booth is open next or call you over, not unlike the airline line-ups.
Miami does it a bit differently. They have fewer weaving lanes and then they send a whole lane of people to line up in front of the boothes. After about 5 min. in the weaving lanes, I found myself in a shorter lane — about 15-20 people in front of me, some family groups of 3 or 4. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Twenty minutes in this lane, when a man in uniform closed the gate right in front of me and sent me to the end of another line! I tried to explain to another guard that I had a connecting flight — couldn’t have cared less! Finally, the family 2 ahead of me was at the booth. Twenty minutes later, they were still there!! The father had his fingerprints taken and his picture snapped no less than three times. Three times I saw him take out the same piece of paper from the Internet to show the officer. Then his wife had her fingerprints done twice, also. Her fingernails were getting in the way and the prints wouldn’t line up with the scanner. By the time I got through (and I didn’t require fingerprinting or photographing), got my bags and went through Customs (very quickly) the officer there said I had one hour to my flight and gave directions to Concourse D. Arrows also pointed to concourses ” D, E, F, G, H, & J”. Guess what order they went in! Yes, “D” was the last in the series. Since I arrived on LAN and was leaving on American Airlines, I had to print out a boarding pass and recheck my baggage. I was late for the “window of opportunity” that would get my bags on the plane. Now, I have to take the 1:10 flight which arrives in Montreal a half hour after my bus for Ottawa leaves! I am not a happy camper. I will probably rent a car I can leave in Ottawa if there is not a later bus!
Why would Immigration not have a separate line or 2 (or 3 or 4) for people with connecting flights? Would that make sense? Possibly too much sense? American Airlines had 40 min. still to figure a way to get my bags on the plane. Had to wait while 4 clerks all tried to solve the same problem at the only booth not serving someone. Doesn’t that bug you when that happens?
Miami, unlike Tim Horton’s and OnRoute Ontario, charges for the Internet so postings will be done after I arrive home. Don’t now know what time that will be. Should still be tonight sometime!! I hope!! Two hours ’till boarding! What to do, what to do!
Arrived in Montreal about 4:20, a little bit late, in a snowstorm. Went through Re-entry into Canada in about 10 min., got my bags, picked up my coat and boots from coat check and found an information booth. There was another Greyhound to Ottawa at 6:25 that would probably be late due to storm. Time to have a bite to eat! Bus was only a half hour late, got a taxi at the Ottawa station and landed home about 10 p.m. A bit of unpacking and I hit the hay! Good to be home!