Monday, July 18, 2011

The Pearson Customs/Immigration Clearance Crunch

Sailboat passes in front of the Toronto skylin...                               Image via Wikipedia
Arrived at Pearson International about 4:30 pm on a long-haul series of flights from Singapore to Shanghai to Tokyo to Toronto.  Happy to be home! However, Pearson isn't part of this.

For years Toronto's Pearson International has had one of the longest walks from gate to security/immigration; it's got to be close to a kilometre (or does it just feel that way?).

Now, to enhance the land-at-Pearson experience, they've added a customs/immigration jam. It was so jammed there was an airport employee holding back arrivees from even proceeding to customs/immigration clearance -- it was "full", she explained.

People line-crashed -- not just a few; dozens. She let people who said they had connecting flights through -- not just a few, dozens upon dozens of them. After 15 or 20 minutes she let the rest of us -- those still waiting after the connectees and crashees had long gone -- to proceed to customs/immigration clearance. Another 15-20 minute wait as weary travellers snaked around fifteen 50-metre segments (meaning the line was 3/4 kilometre long!).

What a way to welcome people to Canada -- nothing like putting your worst foot forward!

The fact they have a person holding people back prior to getting to customs/immigration clearance tells me the long wait is being institutionalized. Tthese long lines are apparently acceptable to the people who get paid big bucks to run Pearson. I suspect they wouldn't be if they had to experience them for themselves on a regular basis. So, here's the Ball Bounces solution. As a quality control step, and as a way of developing empathy for your, you know, customers, it shall be a policy that the person who runs Pearson personally navigates through this line up, dragging along a full weight of carry-on baggage, on a daily basis. Daily. As in, once a day. Every day. Even better, start your trip from one of the far gates. We want you to know what this long lineup feels like. Maybe then you'll be motivated to do something about it. Waste of your time you say? Well, now you know how I and others like me feel.

I've already given up on Pearson for trans-border flying; it's easier and cheaper to fly out of Buffalo. Now I'm going to give serious thought to flying internationally out of either Buffalo or Detroit.

May be the only way to solve Pearson's immigration/customs clearance crunch.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

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Anonymous said...

Hopefully the long line signals an intention to curb immigration. Won't go into details about what population numbers are doing to both the Canadian economy and environment.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes another 'quality Toronto experience' where the customer is treated like a rube and having no competition is federally mandated to poltically-connected monopolists.
What an thoroughly awful city in ALL aspects and the poor residents are nothing but Dickensian Oliver Twists.

Anonymous said...

If you fly internationally and/or to the USA a few times a year apply for a Nexus Card.
$50.00 for 5 years.
It is a security clearance and iris recognition card.
Takes about 2 months to process,BUT once you have the card you can go thru the iris scanning machine, usually no line up.
Once arriving in Calgary the machines were down and we were allowd to proceed thru the crew check point when the crew was done.
No muss,no fuss, no line-ups!


RkBall said...

Good advice. I've been thinking of doing it.

Anonymous said...

The Nexus card works for both Canada and US customs....


"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"