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airbazar
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Long Wait At IAH CBP?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 2:26 pm

Yesterday was my very first visit to IAH. I was connecting from CUN and I spent 2 hours in line, and nearly missed my connecting flight. Many people in line missed their connections and my own flight departed with many empty seats despite waiting an extra 15 minutes for late passengers. As a permanent resident I was sent to the "Visitor" line at IAH which was new to me because at other airports, PR's get to use the U.S. citizens lines.
My question to IAH frequent users is this: Was this kind of wait normal for IAH or did I have bad luck? I arrived just before 6pm, along with the CA flight from PEK, TK from IST, and KL from AMS, along with other UA arrivals I'm sure. There were only 6 CBP processing desks open to process all those arrivals. That seems a little ridiculous for an airport as large as IAH. Eventually a few more opened up but there couldn't have been more than 10 in total.
I've experienced nightmare immigration lines at MIA and LAX and was expecting a fairly smooth ride at IAH. I guess I'll have to add IAH to my list of airports to avoid if it turns out that this is a normal occurence.
 
BC77008
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RE: Long Wait At IAH CBP?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 2:58 pm

I'm a flight attendant for a regional based in IAH and I go through customs at least a few times a week, and sometimes twice in one day. I can't speak with authority on what to expect on the "visitors" side, but if you have a US Passport, you should have been processed on the US Citizen's side. My experience on the US Citizen's side is generally positive. I had a wait of about 45 minutes on Easter Sunday, but usually the entire experience is around 10 to 15 minutes. They've recently installed multiple kiosks where a US Citizen can scan their passport and like magic the kiosk knows where you're coming from, what flight you were on and ask you the same questions that can be found on the US Customs form.
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drerx7
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RE: Long Wait At IAH CBP?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 3:13 pm

I have never waited longer than 10 minutes at IAH! In fact...2 hours...I'm pulling in my driveway. Was your arrival in that early afternoon arrival window?
HOUSTON, TEXAS
 
airbazar
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RE: Long Wait At IAH CBP?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 3:21 pm

Quoting BC77008 (Reply 1):
I'm a flight attendant for a regional based in IAH and I go through customs at least a few times a week, and sometimes twice in one day. I can't speak with authority on what to expect on the "visitors" side, but if you have a US Passport, you should have been processed on the US Citizen's side.

Thank you very much for your reply. I'm not a U.S. citizen. I'm a Permanent Resident (Green Card). I don't doubt that the U.S. citizens line is much quicker. At other U.S. airports, permanent residents like me use the same lines as U.S. citizens. At IAH that is not the case, as I found out yesterday. Had I known that ahead of time I wouldn't have booked a flight thru IAH, for sure because I'm well aware of the long immigration lines for visitors.

Quoting drerx7 (Reply 2):
I have never waited longer than 10 minutes at IAH! In fact...2 hours...I'm pulling in my driveway. Was your arrival in that early afternoon arrival window?

I arrived at 6pm, give or take a couple of minutes. There was a huge amount of Chinese people in line which I assume arrived in the CA flight from PEK. I also saw a bunch of Europeans which i assume arrived with TK and KL from IST and AMS, respectively.
 
TWA902fly
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RE: Long Wait At IAH CBP?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 3:41 pm

My last experience at IAH was in October at 5am getting off UA143 from Lagos LOS. At this time of the early morning, it was our flight and all of UA's deep South America flights. So not as busy as your time of arrival. I went through the US Citizen line and that took about 20 minutes. The visitor line was at least 10x longer, but had maybe 2-3x more agents working. However, i would assume each passenger takes a longer time on average to process.

That said, a few years back I was flying back from SJO and the citizen line took over an hour to get through at IAH, so I think it really depends on the time of day.

'902
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divemaster08
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RE: Long Wait At IAH CBP?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 4:45 pm

Flew into IAH for the first time in March from GCM. We arrived at 7:55pm and had a connection leaving at 9:15pm to SLC (all on UA) and after dealing with MIA, I was really worried about our connection! However when we arrived, the lines were non existent for us vistors! They actually had US citz coming over to our side to speed them through also!

Customs and Security on the other hand were a bit of a bottleneck, luckily we arrived at the gate at 8:50pm to then find out after that rush, the flight was delayed as soon as we arrived at the gate!!!

So in response, CBP was smooth! Would fly again into IAH and connect going west!
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copter808
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RE: Long Wait At IAH CBP?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 5:12 pm

I would expect that it was a case of you arriving at the wrong time (same time as several other flights) and many ahead of you who did NOT have Resident Alien cards. Maybe they should have a dedicated line for the RA's.
 
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TWA772LR
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RE: Long Wait At IAH CBP?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 5:34 pm

I have seen the lines in the FIS building in IAH as I used to work for a UA vendor. It has to be one of the worst US airports in terms of CBP staffing in the country. And the lines are terrible, depending on the time of day, a 2 hour wait is actually very fast. And if you have a connection, forget about it, the FIS TSA checkpoint has all those people you were in Immigration with waiting to go somewhere too and most of the time there is only one line open.
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Inbound
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RE: Long Wait At IAH CBP?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 5:35 pm

I travel POS to IAH almost once a month, on UA into Terminal E. It's usually a quick process for visitors and I'm normally out of immigration before bags are ready to be collected.
I honestly think it was just the peak time you arrived into.

MIA to me, is the slowest.

By the way, I believe permanent residents can qualify for Global Entry now.
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drerx7
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RE: Long Wait At IAH CBP?

Sun Apr 27, 2014 5:38 pm

Quoting TWA772LR (Reply 7):

Sorry, never seen anything remotely like that at IAH. At least all the times I've been through. I could see it at peak afternoon time, but even then, I haven't been gridlocked.
HOUSTON, TEXAS
 
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TWA772LR
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RE: Long Wait At IAH CBP?

Mon Apr 28, 2014 12:08 am

Quoting drerx7 (Reply 9):

I worked at IAH for three summers on behalf of UA/CO in the FIS building. I have waited in those lines and sometimes the individual queues right before the immigration desks can take in upwards of 30 minutes to wait in.
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FlyingSicilian
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RE: Long Wait At IAH CBP?

Mon Apr 28, 2014 2:31 am

Quoting BC77008 (Reply 1):
I'm a flight attendant for a regional based in IAH and I go through customs at least a few times a week, and sometimes twice in one day. I can't speak with authority on what to expect on the "visitors" side, but if you have a US Passport, you should have been processed on the US Citizen's side. My experience on the US Citizen's side is generally positive. I had a wait of about 45 minutes on Easter Sunday, but usually the entire experience is around 10 to 15 minutes. They've recently installed multiple kiosks where a US Citizen can scan their passport and like magic the kiosk knows where you're coming from, what flight you were on and ask you the same questions that can be found on the US Customs form.

Why don't you have Global Entry?


To the OP you can see historic wait times here:
http://awt.cbp.gov/

in a couple of days you can see excactly how long people waited and how many desks were open. IAH just bought APC kiosks, has 15 GE kiosks, one-stop and int'l-to-int'l through checked baggage plus just signed a deal with CBP to get more agents on the airports/city's dime so it should be getting better. That being said there are still stories of certain days where the afternoon rush has a bad wait for some. To skip the TSA line inside the CBP area you can go outside and up stairs for the normal Term E lines and those can be faster.

Yes LPRs can get Global Entry. I highly recommend it, great program.

[Edited 2014-04-27 19:32:03]
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Avianca
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RE: Long Wait At IAH CBP?

Mon Apr 28, 2014 2:43 am

arrived on 9th of April ex CCS and it was a mes, lost my connection to SFO - (connection time was over 2 hours). many other pax missed their connection as well.

The last times I have visited IAH it is always complicat.

Quoting FlyingSicilian (Reply 11):
To the OP you can see historic wait times here:
http://awt.cbp.gov/

very interesting link - also I suppose the average includes US residentes including Global Entry correct?

regards
Avianca
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FlyingSicilian
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Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2009 7:53 pm

RE: Long Wait At IAH CBP?

Mon Apr 28, 2014 2:05 pm

Quoting Avianca (Reply 12):
arrived on 9th of April ex CCS and it was a mes, lost

April 9th was a bad day indeed from 1pm until 3pm 104 people waited over 2 hours per the CBP website I linked too and several more waited that long later in the day.

For some reason they only had 26 and 29 booths open during those hours. Many days see 35-38 booths open.

Per press releases when it was built they IAH CBP hall is the largest single hall (or was a couple of years ago with 52+ booths available). They just do not have the man power to run them all.

Hopefully the new project with the city and airport allowing them to buy overtime and new officers will help at key times. It is not like it is a secret when all the planes arrive and in theory they have the manifests so they know the loads a bit in advance. One would think adjustments could be made as needed.

Aviance, the list includes all travellers.
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roadrunner165
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RE: Long Wait At IAH CBP?

Tue Apr 29, 2014 1:30 am

I think they made an error in directing you to the visitors line.

As a PR, you should be treated just like any other US citizen. As it only takes a minute longer for prints and picture.

My wife is a PR and I am a us citizen. We arrived in HNL on Saturday. We were directed to the line clearly marked Us Citizen and Permanent Residents. We cleared both Immigration and Customs in less than 20 minutes.
 
Nimish
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RE: Long Wait At IAH CBP?

Wed May 07, 2014 3:16 am

I last arrived in IAH on the 22nd of April via the LH flight - and faced about a 45 minute queue. Definitely not normal at IAH - 15-25 mins is the average time. That being said they were opening different counters and trying to bring the queue down.
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