Austin-Bergstrom International Airport has introduced a “one-stop” customs process, which it says will reduce waiting times at the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) checkpoint by up to 40%.
The one-stop process allows arriving international passengers to collect their checked luggage before heading to a CBP admissibility booth, where the passenger and their luggage are cleared in a single step. The new approach replaces a two-stop process whereby passengers first had to visit a CBP admissibility booth to present their passport and other travel documentation, before collecting their luggage and going through a second stage of screening for their luggage.
Patti Edwards, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport’s Chief Operating Officer, commented: “The whole intent is to speed up the process. This new one-stop process allows for the security that CBP needs and at the same time streamlines the process for passengers coming through, making it quicker and more efficient for them and allowing the airport to provide better customer service.”
Edwards explained that the size of the airport makes it ideal for the one-stop CBP process. “I think we’re in a unique position to be able to offer one-stop because of how fast the bags get to the carousels here. If you were in a large airport where it’s going to take 20 minutes for your bag to get delivered, then one-stop may not work. But for a mid-sized airport like Austin, it’s the perfect opportunity to provide excellent customer service.”
To educate passengers about the one-stop customs process, announcements are made both in-flight and upon arrival at the airport, customer service representatives are on hand to tell passengers, and signage is being developed to convey the message. Six Global Entry kiosks and eight Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosks are also in place to help expedite the customs process.