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Beware Transit in Chicago

July 11th, 2011

My apologies to my fans for my extended absence. To make it sound dramatic – although absolutely untrue – I had an accident while swordfish-hunting on a catamaran belonging to the Spanish royal family, when it capsized off the coast of Bora Bora.

My travels have brought me to the States, and by chance, a flight via Chicago. A warning for those whose connecting flight is in Chicago: there is only one immigration area, and the only ‘separation’ line they make is between US citizens and us others. They do NOT separate those in transit and those whose final destination is Chicago. They tell me that at peak hours, they use more staff. But this was a morning arrival – around 10 a.m. Out of 20 available counters, only 5 were functioning. And there were hundreds of us.

Notice: if you are sitting towards the rear of the plane, you will be among the last to disembark. Despite having just over 2 hours transit time, I missed my flight.

Notice: if it takes 2-3 minutes to check someone through, it will take the same time to check 5 persons through when 5 officers are on duty.  100 of us will take about 20 times 2-3 minutes, which is 40-60 mins. If there are hundreds of us, we shall miss our flights.

And there is no way to avoid this, if there are hundreds of us. They do NOT allow you to ‘jump’ the line. They are NOT interested (or not allowed to be interested) in our problem. ‘You need at least 1 hour for transit’, she said.

‘I had over 2 hours’, I responded.

‘I’m sorry, that’s the airlines’ problem’, came back the answer.

When, on the other side, I was directed to the airline transit desk to handle the flight re-scheduling, they told me that it was the government’s fault.

Yet another dent in Obama’s armour…


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