Dazed767 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 5447 posts, RR: 53 Posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 2161 times:
Just on the news 6 planes are stuck on the tarmac for the past 5 hours. Apparently from what a few pax had told them, there was a glitch with the immigration computers. They were only letting 35 pax off at a time...but there was a total of around 2200 people! If I hear more news, I'll post it.
Edina From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2003, 713 posts, RR: 10 Reply 5, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 1665 times:
I worked the BA flight into MCO on Wednesday/30JUL.....the flight was 20 mins late or so. Our passengers cleared immigration fine, but at the crew line there were major delays. In front of us there was an LTU crew and one of the Virgin crews. The VS crew towards the back of the line said they had already been in line for 50-55minutes & LTU 1hr10.....the immigration clerk was taking 5 minutes minimum to clear each crew member.....this is with the appropriate crew visas & advance notification sent by the APIS system.....the final BA crew member cleared immigration 2hrs5 after landing!! In 15 years of travelling to the US at least 3 times/month this has been the worst delay I have incurred at immigration; MCO generally has the longest waits of up to 30 mins but 2 hours takes the biscuit!! Even other more security conscious nations such as Israel & the Arab states don't create these hold ups.
Worked on - Caravelle Mercure A300 A320 F27 SD3-60 BAe146 747-100/200/400 DC10-30 767 777 737-400 757 A319 A321
Skymonster From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 6, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 1638 times:
Beats me why crews think they should get preferential/more expedient clearance through inbound immigration anyway... They're going off duty so no flight to delay, and the crews are usually going to be off for long enough that min rest doesn't come into it either. And we're the paying customers afterall. Crew should be processed after all their pax in my opinion.
Flpuck6 From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 2119 posts, RR: 33 Reply 7, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 1601 times:
I don't think it's so much that they think they should have preferntial treatmean over passengers ... it's more the fact that they did have to wait 2 hours to clear immigration. Barring any suspicions, no one should have to wait that long.
Edina From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2003, 713 posts, RR: 10 Reply 9, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 1586 times:
Skymonster....at no point in my post did I infer that air crew should get preferential treatment at immigration. At each destination we are subject to the immigration procedures of that nation.....in some countries those procedures are the same as those of the public and others they are totally different. The airlines themselves have no control over any countries immigration procedures whether for passengers or crew.
The US is almost unique (in BA's case the only other country is China) in requiring a special crew visa & they insist we are processed separately. Barbados require us to report to a separate immigration office & we are checked off the "General Declaration" without showing a passport. Other caribbean nations only want to see our airport IDs. Egypt requires us to be processed with passengers. Every nation has different requirements & whether or not we are processed with our passengers is up to each nations immigration department.
I put up my initial posting merely to illustrate that MCO immigration have obviously been having problems this week & that this situation was not the norm there.
[Edited 2003-08-02 15:12:33]
Worked on - Caravelle Mercure A300 A320 F27 SD3-60 BAe146 747-100/200/400 DC10-30 767 777 737-400 757 A319 A321
Avionpg From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 85 posts, RR: 0 Reply 10, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 1567 times:
Well not all crew are lucky and go off duty at the end of their flight. many crew that fly the shorter range international flight get to fly their planes back to their home country and only have up to 1 and a half hour of ground time. So they do need to get processed as quickly as possible to get their plane ready for the out bound flight. This situation is particular to USA mainly due to its dual purpose gates. IE domestic and international flight. in many other country the crew can stay with the aircraft as the flight is operated from a lack of better word international concourse.
NonRevKing From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 12, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 1354 times:
With all due respect, yes, crew should get preferential/more expedient treatment. As airline employees, they have had a more extensive background check, and not to mention have to go through customs several times a week. Crew rest is indeed a concern. Most of the crews you see in customs in the US aren't the ones that fly long haul flights, but ones that fly to the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America who are expected to fly again in 8 hours. I imagine it's worse in Europe where you have to clear customs in each different country.
Also, let's not forget they're the ones who have been working the past half day.
Until you've been in their shoes, you won't fully understand.
Skymonster From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 13, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 1285 times:
I think that the implication was there that you expected to be processed expeditiously. Two hours is rather unacceptable, and whilst possibly highly unusual for crew it is certainly not unheard of for passengers - I think my maximum wait in a line in the US has been 3 and a half hours, and more than two used to be a regular experience in places like Dulles and Los Angeles. And most times that has happened, it was woefully apparent that the crew that had just operated the flight over breezes through in a matter of minutes using a channel often just to the right of where the lemmings are standing. I have a great deal of respect for what you folks do, and I accept that the way of processing crew is not chosen by you but by the country you are entering, but non the less it is simply not good customer PR for crew to breeze through whilst the paying punters sweat it out in a queue. My thoughts were therefore guided more by "well, welcome to the real world which I've had the misfortune to be subjected to on quite a number of occasions" than anything else.
As a side note, as a passenger one soon learns to try to arrange travel to the US through gateways where immigration processing is likely to be more expeditious - aviod airports like IAD, JFL, LAX, MIA and try to use the smaller gateways like MSP, PHL, PHX, CVG. Ironically, even these policies can sometimes backfire if the few international flights into these airports that are normally well-spread all arrive at the same time by quirk of off-schedule operations.
Ironically, I worked for an airline for many a long year, and whilst not operating aircrew I was heavily involved with crewing and operations throughout so I do understand, very well, the issues from an airline point of view. I understand what you are saying about having just finished work and I accept that it may be a quirk of the way certain US airports work that they have a seperate crew channel, but fundamentally the airline industry is a service industry and as such the customer should come first. Airline employees may well have more detailed background checks, but all that should mean is that they are processed more quickly when they get to the front of the queue, not that they get preferential treatment. I am also aware of (UK) crew regs and flight time limitation schemes but I'm sorry, if airlines are scheduling their crews in such a way that they are relying on their crews being processed through immigration expeditiously then they are scheduling their crews inappropriately.
NonRevKing From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 14, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 1170 times:
Well, I don't know about Europe, but in the US, it's the FAA that decides crew rest (8 hours for FA), and you can't expect the airlines to be more generous. Crew scheduling will give you just that, 8 hours. That's just how it works this day and age.
Let's talk ATL for example and let's use a small plane like a 737. You are a flight attendant who just flew from Mexico City to Atlanta. Crew rest starts 15 minutes after the aircraft block in time. So, plane pulls in and you start deboarding. On a 737 this can take at about 30 minutes from start to finish. You can add another 15 for gathering up your bags and the rest of the crew and the walk to immigrations, where the customs process begins. On a good day, with an average amount of crew in front of you, immigration, customs, and security will take about an hour. Next hop on the train then walk to ground transportation, 30 minutes. Waiting for the hotel shuttle, at least 15 minutes. Driving to the hotel, checking in, and getting to your room, 30 minutes.
So by the time your key hits that door, you have a whopping total of five and a half hours until your airline can make you work again. Of course there are some variables here, but I did it for the past year and it consistently took two and a half hours until I was home. This isn't even taking into account getting ready and getting to the airport in the morning. You're lucky to get four hours sleep.
And this is with a small plane. I can imagine the process is a lot longer for a 757 and up. Let's also not forget that some crews do have to work connecting flights, and if they aren't on the plane as soon as possible, that flight is going no where.
Now if we had to wait for all our passengers to go through before us, you would have crew on their next flight that are fatigued, and that's not safe.
I understand what you're saying, put the customer first, and that's a nice thought, but it doesn't work in practice in this case. Flights get delayed when crews don't get priority through customs and security. Most importantly it's a safety issue. If I'm a passenger, I want my pilots and flight attendants as well rested as possible. An on time flight with an alert crew is good customer service.
HlywdCatft From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 5321 posts, RR: 7 Reply 15, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 1080 times:
Most of the International crew that came off of flights from various destinations went back up to the terminal for another flight either to catch or to pilot.
Yes I think that the crew needs some preferential treatment- If the pilot needs to fly the plane you can't keep the plane on the ground waiting for him to fly it, delays would cost the company a lot of money, passengers if they miss their flight they are usually booked on another flight or perhaps giving the passenger a hotel room all of which are minimal as compared to a delayed flight.