Of molasses, missed flights and moving on
Trip Start Mar 18, 2012
12Trip End May 13, 2012
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Arrival at Miami International Airport (MIA)
MIA is huge! No two ways about it. I must have walked about 2 miles to get to the customs and border control checkpoint. So I arrived at this check point and the amount of people in lines is staggering. There must be at least 20 counters processing persons, fulled staffed with immigration officers but there was a tremendous bottle neck. It was only when I got closer to the desk that I realise that reason for the bottleneck is the attitude of the staff behind the counters.
everyone that passes through MIA that is not a US resident is fingerprinted and photographed. This procedure takes up valuable time especially since these persons would have been fingerprinted and photographed for their US VISA, which they need to enter the country. I couldn't understand why it was happening again, but more so I could not understand why there was not a separate line for persons who have to get connecting flights. Everyone converged to processed.
When I finally reached the desk after a 2 hour wait in line, the officer took his sweet time processing me. This was a trend that I had noticed of most of the officials here. All of them seemed to be moving like molasses on a cold day going up hill. There was no consideration for the persons standing in line in front of them. They frequently broke away from what they were doing and engaged in conversation, sometimes while processing someone right in front of them. I consider this extremely rude. It took me back to my days of working customer service. Whenever I had customers in front of me, I always did my utmost to handle them as efficiently as possible so that I could have them out of the store and move onto the next customer. I never had personal conversations in front of them either. When I was on the job, I was on the job and the customer had my full attention. Everything else had to wait!
Unfortunately, this was not the case here. It was sad to see that the level of professionalism that is boasted of the US was not displayed here. In a way I felt a bit proud that I was Barbadian. I mean, say what you will about Bajans and them not giving good service, but by comparison, I thought that our service back home especially through customs was second to none, but I digress.
I was trying my best to get the officer that was processing me to hurry without seeming rude, because after all I was in a foreign country - that is not to say that I would have any problems jumping on the first flight back to BIM. I asked him if he knew where Terminal 4 was and if it was far away because my flight was leaving in 20 minutes. He simply replied that it was far and continued to look at the screen. I then asked if he thought that I was going to be able to make the flight. "No, probably not.", he said and returned my documents. I thanked him took my documents and hightailed it to the baggage claim and then to Terminal 4, bobbing and weaving through the foot traffic and almost knocking down an old lady.By the time I reached terminal 4 and tried to check in on the online console, the flight had already left.
By this point I was fuming! I had to stand in line for another 30 minutes to get my flight changed with a number of other persons. All the while I was waiting, I was building up myself in case I needed to throw a tantrum in the event that I was told that I had to pay to have the flight changed. Luckily, that wasn't necessary but I was sure to express to the lady at the counter that I was waiting in line for 2 hours and that is why I had missed the flight. She apologised and we had a brief conversation about Barbados and the Solomon Islands, and how she would never visit there [Solomons] because it was too far away.
"Thanks, lady!", I said to myself. It wasn't on my top 10 either but thanks for your much appreciated input. After a brief delay at TSA, I finally reached the gate for my flight (did I mention that MIA is huge?). I had almost missed the flight again and did not even get a chance to grab something to eat - not having had anything to eat since 3:30am on the Sunday, I was in a state but I refused to pay for overpriced airplane food, like their $8.00US sandwiches. Nope, I ate a granola bar drank some water and held out for the 6 hours en route to LA.