I’ve certainly penned some acerbic columns in recent times about
the incompetency of the UK Border Agency and the UK Government’s
continuing failure to deliver a visa regime that supports business
between the UK and China and Russia in particular. It is only fair,
therefore, to point out it could always be worse: Miami Dade Airport
(MIA) in Florida, to be specific, is an absolute joke if you’re a non-US
national trying to clear passport control.
I went through MIA
twice this month and both times incurred a two-and-a-half hour queue to
show the passport. North Americans were waived through in 20 minutes
making a mockery of the civil servants hiding behind a sign that blamed
the long lines on Government cutbacks.
And once you do get to passport control, can there be a ruder breed of individual than the US passport controller?
exception this breed seems to excel at being the exact opposite of the
typical friendly US service industry professionals that emotionally air
condition you with 20 questions when ordering the most basic of items.
ESTA visa waiver regime has been specifically designed to speed
clearance of passport control by UK nationals. What use is the latest
technology and common sense approach online if it all founders on Mr and
Mrs Donut-munchin’ Miami passport fat controllers?
At a meetings
industry forum last year, run by Mash Media in conjunction with Houston
Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Texans were keen to make a point
that they had specially trained their passport control officials to be
polite to incoming foreign business travellers, even introducing a fast
lane for conference delegates. They knew the US reputation in general
was poor in this respect and had decided to do something about it.
If Houston can do it, why can’t Miami get its act together, I wonder?
you visited a worse run airport than Miami Dade? If so, let us know
about it and hopefully, we can name and shame those guilty parties into
treating those of us who wish to visit their countries, states and towns
– and even spend money there – with proper courtesy and efficiency.
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