Clearing Customs at DFW Airport now taking hours

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by JASON WHITELY

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonwhitely

WFAA

Posted on June 17, 2013 at 11:23 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 18 at 12:55 PM

DFW AIRPORT — As if traveling overseas isn't exhausting enough, listen to the stories of what clearing Customs is like now for passengers arriving at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

"It was total chaos," said Melissa Moore.

"I've been in here for about an hour-and-a-half," added fellow traveler Kristine Clark, who just flew in from South Africa.

One passenger sneaked several images out from inside the security zone. The photos show long lines, with hundreds of people snaking around luggage carousels.

The waits have taken almost three hours, some travelers told News 8.

Joseph Moore got stuck in it over the weekend on his way back from Mexico.

"I tried to count... there was nearly a thousand people in line, and they're all speaking different languages, coming from different countries, trying to organize themselves," he said. "There's no Customs official anywhere in sight."

DFW Airport has grown in the last year, with an 11 percent increase in international. That's about 1,500 more travelers coming through these doors every day.

Problem is, airport spokesman David Magaña says Customs and Border Protection has not added the adequate staff to accommodate the surge in passengers.

"You combine all that, and whatever the effects of sequestration might be, and you're going to see a little bit longer lines than we're used to," he said.

Customs and Border Protection told News 8 it has invested more in technology, such as its Global Entry program, where registered travelers use kiosks to skip passport control.

DFW Airport's board recently approved purchasing 30 of its own kiosks called Automated Passport Control for all other passengers to pass through quickly, as well.

Magaña said airport managers hope both pieces of technology will free up more agents to tackle the increasingly long lines for arriving travelers to clear Customs.

E-mail jwhitely@wfaa.com

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