Going through customs after an international flight can sometimes be a hassle, but the line for passengers arriving back home in their country of residence usually moves much faster than those visitors from other nations. Try telling that to American travelers landing at DFW International in Texas, where some have spent hours and hours waiting in line just to clear customs.
For example, reports CBS DFW, some travelers who arrived at the airport Monday night ended up waiting in line for two to three hours at customs.
The problem appears to be a combination of an increased number of international flights and federal budget/staffing cutbacks that have resulted in fewer customs officers working at any given time.
So when 31 international flights all arrived within a short time frame on Monday, and only four customers officers were available to process all those passengers, you end up with a huge clusterfrack as the airport fills up with tired, weary travelers. Some of whom take time to make a video showing how ridiculously long the customs line is:
If you skipped the video, you should really go back and watch it, as it takes the camera operator nearly two full minutes to reach the end of the line.
The guy who shot the video tells CBS that she spent close to three hours in line.
Meanwhile, travelers say that the line for international arrivals was shorter, so those passengers were moving through at a faster clip.
A rep for the airport says that international flights at DFW have increased by 11% in just the last year, but “staffing in customs hasn’t kept up with it.”
According to CBS, there are about 25% fewer customs officers staffing the booths at DFW than there were last year. At the same time, average wait times have increased by 43%.
The airport rep says DFW management has offered to pay the Customs and Border Patrol folks for additional help.
“It’s been happening more frequently this summer,” he says about the long lines at customs. “In past years, it hasn’t happened.”