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I kept thinking "There MUST be an easier way..."

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I kept thinking "There MUST be an easier way..."

We went from Toronto to Fort Lauderdale, and left home at 4:00am to get our car parked and be at the airport the required 3 hours before departure.

At the airport - as on the computer at home - the kiosk refused to check me in, and I was eventually directed to one of the several CSRs sitting behind a counter nearby. She checked us in, took $25 each for our baggage, and we went off towards US pre-clearance (with all of our baggage).

When we got there, we were told to go away, find a seat and wait for an hour and a half as we would not be allowed in until then. Scratch almost 2 hours sleep we could have had.

At the appointed time we joined the snake and shuffled on backwards and forwards (with our carry-ons and suitcases) until we got to the officer. He processed us and we then deposited our baggage on the belt. And joined yet another snake heading towards the gates.

At the gate, we hurried up and waited yet again, and eventually got on board and away. I suppose the bright side is that this was both departure and arrival officialdom crammed into the experience at one ened.

Yesterday my wife and I travelled back home from Fort Lauderdale to Toronto.

Flight time: 3 hours.

Door to door: 10 hours.

On check-in - the usual 3 hours demanded before departure - we were told by an Air Canada rep to have a seat, that our flight would not start checking in until 1.5 hours before departure. Discard 1.5 hours we could have been sleeping or relaxing in our borrowed condo.

1.5 hours before departure we joined the snake, and suddenly our flight number was called out and all of those passengers were hustled to the middle of the line. We finally got checked in, and went straight to security.

Shoes off, belts off, coats off, all metal objects off, and stood in one of the scanners they are now taking out of service for being too invasive. They are not too invasive in FLL, apparently.

Then get dressed again, put all possessions back into their rightful places, move on to the departure lounge, where two flights are being checked in with the LINES CROSSING EACH OTHER. Why are there people checking in when they are already in the departure lounge? No idea. Maybe this is how Americans spend their leisure time.

What, 12:55pm departure time is no longer valid? Now 1:15pm, OK, no problem. What, 1:15pm departure time is no longer valid? Now 1:35pm, OK, no problem. By the time 1:35pm comes and goes, we are still sitting on the airplane at the gate.

We FINALLY get into the air, and almost as soon as we get to altitude we encounter chop turbulence that increases to a point where the flight attendants have to stop the service and sit down.

Eventually it settles down and we start our descent into Toronto. We get there and lo and behold our intended gate is occupied and we are now breathing fumes-laden air from the exhausts of other aircraft around the terminal.

But hopefully we will get a break now that we are home? Not a chance... join the snake to get out of the airplane, join the snake for Immigration, join the snake for Customs, join the snake for transportation, join the snake to pay for the car parking, and then join the snake/s on the highways in rush hour.

There MUST be an easier way...

Nannup, Australia
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1. Re: I kept thinking "There MUST be an easier way..."

Which is why I call them 'queue-ports' and not 'airports'.

Atlanta, Georgia
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for Atlanta
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2. Re: I kept thinking "There MUST be an easier way..."

I guess it's all about your approach. It sounds like there might have been a nice vacation to Ft Lauderdale somewhere there in the middle, but you've chosen to focus on the negatives.

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3. Re: I kept thinking "There MUST be an easier way..."

I love how you explained what we all go through for a little vacation. So true. Sigh.

San Diego
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for San Diego
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4. Re: I kept thinking "There MUST be an easier way..."

Hmm? It sounds like being there 3hrs. ahead was not a requirement at these airports. When you travel early in the AM they are often not all up and staffed that early so you can get there a bit later.

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5. Re: I kept thinking "There MUST be an easier way..."

Pretty sure there are big signs at all US Check-ins at Canadian airports saying - "Do not enter until one hour before departure" or something similar.

Flying has to to be endured. I think of this whenever I remember that it takes me almost 12 hours door-to-door to get to Vancouver but its only 45+ minutes flying time.

New York City, New...
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for Air Travel
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6. Re: I kept thinking "There MUST be an easier way..."

Could you have driven door to door cheaper and faster? Doubtful.

The 3hr rule isn't some international standard, at some airports I might, either because security/departing immigration/airport is a shambles or because there's a nice lounge but otherwise, as your point illustrates, it's not necessary. Last year I took a flight operated by a full Airbus A320, check-in didn't open until 45mins beforehand and security 30 mins before. Flight left on time.

Edited: 13 February 2013, 03:07
Destination Expert
for North Wales
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7. Re: I kept thinking "There MUST be an easier way..."


That's flying

Elk Rapids, Michigan
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for Lanai
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8. Re: I kept thinking "There MUST be an easier way..."

Yep, get rich and buy your own private jet...lol

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9. Re: I kept thinking "There MUST be an easier way..."

It's what you call flying:-))

Toronto, Canada
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10. Re: I kept thinking "There MUST be an easier way..."

Easier Way? Yes-- Nexus to speed up US preclearance and same on coming back to Canada. No line ups at immigration, maybe 5 minutes to clear the line.

Then either get a premium credit card with lounge access included or have status with airline. All costs money one way or another which is, of course, the significant disadvantage.

In all seriousness though, if you fly even a few times a year (or drive) to the US, Nexus is a great time saver.