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Hour-Long Waits Plague Customs at Orlando Airport

Updated: 30 July 2013 : 03:15:29 AM

International visitors flying into Orlando to enjoy the city’s theme parks and attractions can expect to wait for up to an hour in customs before leaving the airport thanks to recent cuts in federal spending.

Sequestration, which refers to automatic budget cuts, has left Orlando International Airport with customs staff shortages that have led to the dramatic increase in waiting times for international passengers.

However, Orlando is not alone.

Major airports across the nation are now facing frustratingly long waiting times, and the issue has grown so much in the last year that many are worried that international travellers will be discouraged from traveling the U.S. in the future.

Orlando International Airport

3.7 Million International Passengers

Orlando International Airport saw 3.7 million international passengers arrive through its gates in the past year, an increase of 5.4% over the previous year.

At peak arrival periods, the average overall wait time at customs swelled to 57 minutes, putting the airport 6th on the list of longest customs wait times.

According to a recent survey, the worst time to fly into Orlando International is Saturday afternoon.

Weekday, late night, and early morning arrivals face considerably shorter lines, though these wait times are increasing as well.

Unless drastic changes are made to the customs process or more customs agents are hired, this issue looks like it will worsen in Orlando and across the country as time progresses.

For international passengers, the best thing to do is to try to arrive during an off-peak time, and be patient.

By Marie Ospina

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