Delta Steps in Where Government Fails
JFK is the busiest U.S. entry point for international travelers and if you’ve ever arrived on an international flight, you’ve probably noticed that wait times to clear Customs and Border Protection (CBP) can be horrendously long. In fact, of the five busiest international arrival airports in the U.S., JFK has the longest average wait-time, topping out at over two hours.
Feeling that the “arrivals process” at Terminal Four was a reflection on Delta – even if the circumstances were beyond its control – and in an effort to be pro-active and maintain a favorable customer service experience, Delta Airlines has decided to take matters into its own hands. The airline recently fronted the funding for forty automated passport control machines in its newly-built Terminal Four. The machines arrived in early October and were up and running within a day of their arrival. Passengers on all airlines arriving at this terminal may use the machines, but access is currently restricted to U.S. citizens.
The machines allow travelers to scan their own passport, complete their customs declaration and confirm travel information using a self-service kiosk before reaching the CBP officer to complete the inspection. Installed at Chicago O’Hare this past summer, they have resulted in a 40 percent decrease in wait times for U.S. citizens, with more than 60 percent of eligible travelers using the kiosks.
It’s now time for CBP and Congress to take additional steps at the airport to further ease the arrivals process. That includes increasing staffing, improving scheduling to accommodate peak arrival times and "full federal funding for CBP”.