2017-10-14 - 10:57 a.m.
I was the last to leave for various reasons, mainly because that's the flight they put me on to use up my voucher. Migration was a tad slow the last day, but I did add Roseate Spoonbill to the list when the counters and I spotted a couple of birds mixed in with a huge flock of American White Pelicans.
Perhaps the last significant sighting of the trip was a Zone-tailed Hawk that casually sauntered over the roof trying to go unnoticed, which worked not so well, since the roof pigeons "made" him as a hawk and NOT a Turkey Vulture and they scattered before he could take his pick of the prey. I wonder if he seriously thought he was going to get away with taking a pigeon right off the same roof where we were sitting-- sure would've loved to see that!
It was a long day flying back on Friday, made unnecessarily long by total incompetence at the Atlanta airport. The last time I flew in, I was coming from the Middle East (Doha) so maybe that's why they made sure the airport was staffed. This time, nobody wanted to work on a Friday night, and it was an awful situation. I really couldn't even understand what I was seeing, that such a situation was taking place at a major American airport in 2017.
Picture this. A major international terminal with multiple flights scheduled to arrive all at once. One (!) guy with a very soft voice and a plastic information card tells ALL incoming US citizens to get in this line and then he (slowly) goes down the line with the card to explain we all have to download some app on our phone to take a photo of our passport. Well, sorry, hon, you didn't find this out and implement this plan twenty minutes ago. They had to know they were firing the staff and wanting people to clear customs via an app for weeks, if not months.
Of course, nobody could download the freakin' app because everybody was hitting the website all at once. After, I think, almost an hour, I did get the app to download, but I couldn't take the photo or input the information because-- imagine this, I'm standing in a line of people pushing and shoving and holding my passport, computer bag, luggage etc. So that worked about the way you'd expect... it DIDN'T. So everybody still had to get checked out by the only two guys manning the customs desk ANYWAYS. It was chaos.
By the time we reached the security checkpoint, the TSA workers had gone home and closed the PreCheck lane. Which meant thousands of people, many who had been told they had PreCheck and thus wouldn't have to take off shoes, take off laptops, etc. -- all of those people had to take out all of that stuff. Plus there were only TWO security lines and only ONE of those scanner machines working! I wonder how many people missed their flights because of that. I had to come running up to mine... a miserable experience, and there was absolutely no reason for it. None. Zero. If you want to give all the jobs to robots, make SURE the robots are already on the job before you send people home. There was no reason Delta could not have told people to download that app in advance and have it already filled out with their passport etc. None. Zero. I know they don't control Customs or the TSA but you can't tell me they don't know how an airport operates. It was a sad performance all around...
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