I returned home from Buenos Aires today and had to endure a torturous 45-minute wait in the immigration line today at Dulles. After my poor experiences in Montreal, I vowed to apply for Global Entry: only $100 for five years. But as I mentioned last week, my trip to South America was a last-minute idea and I never got around to applying.
I thought 7am would be a better time to arrive at IAD than in the middle of the afternoon when many flights from Europe arrive, but no…this was bad. UA flights from Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, and Dubai all arrive around the same time. Plus the Ethiopian Airlines’ flight from Rome and the South African Airways’ flight from Dakar also arrive about that time. Needless to say, immigration took quite a while today.
But my fun wasn’t over. At the midfield immigration check at IAD, after dealing with DHS you deal with TSA before you can re-enter the terminal. For some reason, the TSA seems to post its "best" agents in this section (and yes, I am being very facetious).
A loud-mouthed female employee was yelling at passengers who has just cleared customs to line up and form a single-file line. She wasn’t pleasant, she wasn’t kind: she was gruff and rude. What a sad way to welcome visitors into America…
Next came a guy who yelled that everyone needed to take all their liquids out of the bags and that the lines were slow because "y’all people aint complyin wit da rules". He kept going and going. When a passenger asked him to tone it down, he responded defensively saying that he was just doing his job and keeping people safe. Our hero…
Then there was a TSO who told everyone to take off their wrist watches and belts (perhaps for a TSA retirement fund?) because they would set off the metal detector. A sun-baked American woman with a distinct Mississippi drawl (and boasting only three front teeth [seriously]) yelled out loud, "If I take muh belt off, my pants are gonna fall down. You want me to strip for you?" The agent laughed and said no, but she thought she was a comedian and with a captive audience around her started yelling "strip show! Nude woman in the house! Strip show! Nude woman in the house!"
Since the TSA was so concerned about liquids coming out of the bag, I naturally decided to leave my liquids in my bag. Does it surprise you that they never caught them?
Finally it was up the elevator and back into the stale C Concourse with a few minutes to spare before my flight. Another wonderful immigration experience at Washington Dulles.