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July 23, 2013

Passengers wait for hours to get through DFW Airport customs lines

Haskin
Photo courtesy of Becky Haskin
After a ten-hour flight from London to Dallas/Fort Worth, the last thing Becky Haskin expected was to have to wait for almost four hours to get through the customs line at DFW Airport.

On Monday evening, the line to go through U.S. Customs at the airport stretched out of the main customs hall and down several corridors.

"We started walking and the line went out of the big room where customs is and went down three different halls and we were parallel to all the gates," said Haskin, the former Fort Worth city councilmember. She estimated there were about 5,000 people in line.

DFW Airport spokesman David Magana said the lines at the customs area in Terminal D have gotten worse during the summer as federal budget cuts have created staffing problems for the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

"It is unnecessary for travelers to have to wait in lengthy lines to enter the U.S.," Magana said, adding that airport staff often takes free bottled water and chairs to passengers waiting in the hallways to enter customs. "It's something we have been working on for a long time at DFW Airport."

The airport spent $188,000 to install 30 kiosks for automated passport entry for U.S. citizens to help speed up the re-entry process. The new kiosks will be ready in November and should help reduce passenger wait times.

Magana said the airport has also helped market and promote the TSA's Global Entry program, signing up 42,000 local passengers for the program which allows travelers who register with the TSA to bypass customs lines.

Messages left for the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol were not returned on Tuesday afternoon.

Another passenger stuck in the long customs line on Monday evening was Youtube user, Chris Crow. He posted this two-minute video walking the entire length of the line.

There were four customs agents for U.S. citizens and four customs agents for international passengers, she said. After making it through customs, Haskin said it became difficult to retrieve her luggage as luggage from several flights had been placed in the holding room as people waited to go through customs. Several travelers near Haskin in line missed connecting flights because of the long wait times.

"When it takes longer to go through customs than your entire flight, say if you flew in from Mexico, that's a problem," Haskin said.

-Andrea Ahles

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Comments

Ed A.

All of you who voted for Tea Party Republicans - enjoy your wait in line!

Anjinsan

Maybe the Passenger Bill of Rights should be extended to include the US Customs and Border Patrol!!!

Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot the double standard... Do as I say, not as I do!!!

Besides, can you just see the DOT trying to fine the CBP/DHS, that would be like two theives stealing from each other!!! LOL!!!

Alice

That line already took hours before budget cuts. I spent 4 hours in it 2 years ago.

P

CBP employees and managers who engage in this type of slow-down should be fired, just like Reagan did with ATC malingerers.

C

not only are the lines still ridiculous and the kiosks insanely understaffed, but the employees are shockingly and unprofessionally rude! I had a much more pleasant customs experience in mexico city, where the customs workers probably make 1/3 the money and somehow manage to be polite and professional.

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