Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Customs vs. the TSA

I am always amazed how some public agencies can function better than others.  This morning as I was coming back into the country, I landed in Los Angeles and went through the customs process in about 25 seconds.   I am a part of Global Entry which is a project from US Customs which allows travelers who submit personal data to get through the process of reentering the country with minimal fuss and bother.   It is a successor to a system that did not work very well but for the couple of years but the Customs Service worked to perfect it.   Since the new program was adopted, it has simplified my life.  I give them a bit of personal data and they get me through the process.  You go through a line, stick your passport in a machine, give a photo and fingerprints, answer the usual questions and voila you are through the lines.  I have used the service in five different airports and in each the system works well.  Bravo for the Customs Service!!!!!

But then I got to the TSA part of the process.  As I think happens in all countries, you are required to reenter security after you have cleared customs to board a domestic flight.   I am not sure what it is about LAX but the TSA staff there is beyond horrible.   They represent the worst of a bad situation.

When I fly, because I fly a lot, I am allowed to go through the "expedited" line. (I am a priority traveller.)   But at LAX the TSA seems to delight in being bureaucratic.   Even with the special status the line this morning took about 30 minutes to get through.

LAX is so bad that when I come to the LA area I make it a point not to fly to LAX.

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