A4A: Long U.S. customs waits are a major problem, frustrate travelers

06/12/2013 | Wall Street Journal, The

Long customs lines are frustrating travelers at airports across the U.S. "It's a major problem," said Sharon Pinkerton, senior vice president at Airlines for America. "People get very, very frustrated when they spend seven or nine or even as long as 17 hours on a flight and then wait another two to three hours in line. People get really unhappy." Over the past three years, the number of people arriving at U.S. airports hit record levels of more than 100 million a year, a 12% increase, yet the number of agents at airports authorized by Congress remains essentially unchanged, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The article notes that every passenger traveling inbound from abroad pays a CBP fee of $17.50, and that as international travel increases, those fees could pay for additional CBP officers.

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