WHY I HATE GOING THROUGH UNITED STATES CUSTOMS

Last November I took a 30 Plus Teams Tour of Ottawa, Canada.

I mentioned in my post how much I liked going through Canadian Customs as opposed to United States Customs.

Now, when I mention customs , I’m not only talking about them.

I’m talking about you too, TSA.

I have no problem getting to JFK , Newark Liberty , Philadelphia International , and Las Vegas McCarron International Airports very early and basically taking off most of my clothes, rearranging my suitcase and dumping out liquids because this is the world we live in here in the United States basically since 9-11.

What bothers me more than anything is no matter if I’m coming home ftom Asia or Europe or doing a 30 Plus Teams Tour of somewhere in Canada , why do I dread going through United States Customs so much?

I understand that the hard working men and women of the United States Customs have a job to do, but is it a requirement on your resume for this job to be a complete douchebag and act like an asshole ?

Would it hurt so much to smile when you ask a tourust coming here for the first time , ‘How long will you be in the United States ? ‘

Or when you’re asked , ‘Do you have a place to stay while you’re in the country?’

Can’t you at least PRETEND to be friendly when you ask all of us, foreigners and Americans your 50 million questions ?

It’s not any of your business why I spend so much time in Malaysia , especially Kuala Lumpur .

If you must know, though, it’s because I worked with Malaysia Airlines and I just love that country and that city.

You could learn something from the Malaysian customs agents, who are mostly women in very beautiful navy uniforms and hijabs, who get you in and out of Malaysian customs quickly, asking the very same questions .

They do it with a smile , by the way .

I don’t feel like I’m a criminal or terrorist when I’m asked, “What’s the nature of your business in Kuala Lumpur ? ‘

Or when I tell a Canadian customs agent just why I’m in Canada.

They smile right away when I mention that I’m in the country for a hockey game and even make small talk.

Don’t ask me a question that insults my intelligence as an American by asking me, “If you ‘ re an American then what’s the capital of the United States ?”

Don’t laugh, I was actually asked this by a United States customs agent at Toronto Pearson Airport on my way back to Boston .

Being the smart ass New York gal that I am, I just had to be “that girl” and reply, “I was out of the country for 4 days. It was Washington DC when I left. Was it suddenly changed to Detroit while I was away?’

Needless to say, I also wanted to know who this jerk’s supervisor was.

I’m not sure if he was joking, but are you for real right now?

If I, as an American feel this way about United States Customs agents , I certainly understand why foreign tourists don’t want to come here .

I know you have a job to do, but really ladies and gentlemen , whether you know it or not, YOU are the first Americans that foreigners see, and it’s really not a good optic .

It’s downright embarrassing to be that rude not only to foreigners but Americans

returning home as well .

Can’t y’all make going through United States Customs a little bit more pleasant for all of us?

A THANK YOU LETTER TO MALAYSIA AIRLINES .

Dear Malaysia  Airlines ,

Even  though  you  no longer  fly out of  the  United  States  or  Canada ,  I  miss you and wish  you  would  fly here again .

Or at  least  out of  JFK ,  because  it seems  like  every  airline  and their  mama  flies  out of  that  airport .

I don’t  think  that  I’m  the  only  one  who  feels  that  way .

I know  that  a lot  of  people  have  a  negative  opinion  of Malaysia  Airlines ,  but please  don’t  count  me  as one of  them .

I  cried  when  those  two  planes  went down all those  years ago .

I  thought  about  my ex coworkers  and other Malaysia  Airlines  Reservations  Sales  Agents  around the  world  who might  have  made reservations  for  all those  passengers  on both of those  planes.

I cried even  more.

For seven  years ,  your office  in El  Segundo ,  California ,  a city near  Los Angeles ,  was the  place that  paid  my rent  and allowed  me  to  go on  all those  30  Plus  Teams  Tours ,  even  though  I didn’t  call  them that name  then.

When I  lost  my  job  at Delta  Airlines ,  it was  your  airline  that accepted  me as an employee  even  though  I  knew NOTHING  about  your  airline  and I  didn’t  have a  clue where Malaysia  was ,  let alone ever hearing  about the  country  or locating  it on a map .

I quickly  learned  about  the  country ,  your customs ,  your food , (  which is wicked good )  and  how  friendly  the Malaysian  people  are .

Even though  they  do speak  English ,  I tried to  learn the basic  words  in the  native  language ,  Bahasa Malay.

I  never  had  a  passport  or even  traveled  to  Asia  until  that  day  that my supervisor  came up  to  me and told me  to get one  asap “because  you’re  going  to  Kuala  Lumpur  for training . ”

Thank you ,  Malaysia  Airlines  for getting  to ride on your  planes and experiencing  the cabin  crew that was  voted the best in the  world  at that time  and what it  means  to  to take  a  long haul  flight.

Los Angeles  to KL  with  a  stop in  Taipei ,  Taiwan  18 hours.

Yikes ! !

But I  did get three meals  and  free drinks ,  not to mention  those  hot scented  towels  that were passed   around by the  flight  attendants .

I  think I  can get used to  this .

Thank you  for  not  only  my first  visit  to  KL  but for the  many other  visits  to  Penang, Singapore ,  Brisbane ,  Sydney and  even London  that I  took between  the years  of 2000-2007.

Our office  was  really  diversified ,  even way before  that was fashionable .

There were people  of all  races, religions ,  and ethnicities

working  in  the  office ,  and I’m  not  going  to  lie.

We got along  better  than  any job that  I  ever  worked  at.

Maybe  we  reflecting  the values of  the  country  even  though  we were in the  United  States   or maybe  because  by and large we enjoyed doing  what  we were paid  to  do .

Now  that  I’m  retired ,  I  will  never  forget  the  happy  and sad times  working at Malaysia  Airlines .

I thank  you  for  allowing  me  to  work  for  what  I  will always  consider  to be  the  best  company  and job that  I  ever  had .

TERIMAH  KASI ,  MALAYSIA  AIRLINES !

Sincerely ,

Joanie  from your Los Angeles  office

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