You land at an airport and you want to get where you’re going in the fastest time possible. The flight is over and all you want to do is start your holiday, get on with the business trip or head on home. Airports around the world try to make this experience painless and when flying domestically, it usually is. Arriving as an international passenger is another story.

Disgusting Delays

The first time I arrived in Europe was on Qantas into London Heathrow Terminal 4. After a 12 hour flight from Hong Kong, all I wanted to do was change terminals and get on my next flight to Iceland. Immigration had another plan for me which entailed an enormous queue and a wait of over 2 hours to be seen. Horrible!

Baggage claim can also be a hold up as well. I once landed in Miami on American Airlines and headed on down to wait for my bag. Wait I did – it turns out I was in for a wait of well over an hour before baggage finally started appearing on the belt. You could feel the frustration in the air while we all stood around cooling our heels and it wasn’t pretty!

Fastest Times

There is a place where I regularly set a new record when I arrive as an international passenger. Sydney, Australia! My parents live around 10 minutes drive from the airport which makes that portion of the journey short. However, the airport also seems to do everything right to get me out of there fast.

My last trip set the new record. My Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong was on the gate at 6:10am and I was in the door at home at 6:47am! That is 37 minutes including the taxi ride home. I couldn’t believe it!

Immigration features automatic Passport machines and baggage comes out fast. After this, you pass through Quarantine and if you’re not stopped it’s then a short walk to the taxi rank and off you go. This is the second or third time in a row that it has been well under an hour to go through the whole process. Amazing!

Overall Thoughts

Nothing is more exciting than setting a new record for the fastest time through an airport on an international arrival. You always expect it to be hell in a hand basket and it makes your day when it’s smooth and painless.

What are your good and bad experiences arriving into airports internationally? I’d love to hear them in the comments below. Thank you for reading!

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Featured image by Simon Sees via Wikimedia Commons.