- I really really hope Jacy got her luggage back and would love an update
- We did have a great time and the ending in no way negates that
This is the scene we met when we arrived at customs:
And those were the lucky people, the ones who had actually made it to the floor. The rest of us were kept up on top in lines that stretched for hundreds of metres on both sides, waiting to be allowed downstairs:
According to the airport official I spoke to this is a regular Saturday occurrence and has been particularly bad this summer. The problem was aggravated by the fact that one third to one half of the customs and immigration booths remained unmanned. These two photos -- which, like all the shots, I wasn't supposed to take-- show some of the empty ones:
And this photo shows the view from below when we finally made it into the holding corral:
Relatively speaking we were lucky as the upstairs line quintupled in length in the time we stood in it as more and more planes arrived.
These lines, of course, were an entirely preventable situation given that plane arrivals are known and scheduled months in advance. Having enough staff at the airport to deal with arrival surges is hardly rocket science. And, according to the airport staffer I spoke to, the airport authority has been requesting Canada customs to increase staff on Saturdays for months, but seemingly to no avail.
Elderly people who had just come off long-haul flights and mothers with babies and toddlers had to stand in line for two hours plus. Older kids sacked out on the side.
Once through, the baggage claim area was also a mess and, as has happened to me on other occasions, there were huge slow-moving taxi lines. Well, okay, shit happens, but the thing about this shit was it didn't have to happen if the powers that be had scheduled the customs shifts properly. As for the taxi problem, at the very least, the guys in charge should be able to estimate the wait.
It boggles my mind that a major city can have an airport that's such a disaster as well as a security risk. Bogus refugees and terrorist types must certainly increase their chances of getting into Canada by arriving in Montreal on Saturday. Someone needs to be fired.