You’ve been sitting for the last few hours in a cramped chair next to (or rather half under) someone else’s child, you’re tired and you can’t sleep because the child’s feet are digging in to your side. But at least you’re starting your holiday. We all know the feeling – you’re exhausted from travel but kept going by the excitement of exploring somewhere new. But first you have to get out of the airport, and that can either be a very effortless and welcoming process, or the longest hours of your life.
We asked Rough Guides’ friends and followers where, in their opinion, the customs and immigration officials make a great beginning to your trip, and where they make you want to get the next flight home.
Many of you agreed that there’s an element of pot-luck, and Lucy Kane on Facebook said it depends on “how grumpy the immigration officers feel that day”. That said, it seems there was a clear winner for worst experience: the USA. Bloid Introvabile (aka Eve Li) mentioned on Facebook that American homeland security “manage to upset you even when you have a visa to enter their country on your passport”, while Hendrik Buyle revealed on our community page that he once queued for two hours to get in to the USA – not a great start to a holiday – and @TheMiserableTwo said on Twitter that their officers “flicked through my passport lots of times [and] questioned why I had so many stamps”.