Getting oriented with US Airport procedures

posted Aug 16, 2012, 8:55 AM by Jalandhari Kom   [ updated Aug 16, 2012, 8:55 AM ]

The Arrival
Enjoy your flight. Try to learn more about other nations from the co-passengers. There can be international stops on your way to the U.S.
International Stops
Generally passengers are required to get down at an International stop, which might be for Security checkup or cleaning of the airplane. You will be given a 'transit card` or say 'transit visa`. Normally the halt is for a couple of hours. Listen to the announcement, which is always made before the international halt. You will hear information about departure time, gate number etc. After getting down at an International Airport, you can move around in the airport. But be at the gate within 45 minutes of your flight's departure for the onward journey, 'cause they may require checking of your tickets etc. Once you get in, you are all set to take off for the final destination unless you have another international stop.
Immigration
The first thing you need to go through at the port-of-entry U.S. airport (international airport where you first land in the U.S.), after landing is the immigration and customs clearance. After which you may board a domestic flight to reach your final destination. Before getting down at your port-of-entry final international halt, inside the plane, you will be given a form to fill up called I-94. Specify your employer's contact number, address and other official information as your contact number, address where you will stay, etc.

On alighting from the plane you may ask people or signs will guide you to the immigration. Keep your passport, H1-paper (Blue form) and the form you filled inside the plane, handy. At the counter you might be asked some questions. Talk absolutely to the point. Don't try to lie. Make sure that whatever you say is written on the paper. You will be given the counter foil of I-94 form. Keep that very carefully. And say to yourself "WELCOME TO USA".

Baggage Claim
Try to acquire some 25 cent coins (called "quarters"), which you may need for getting a trolley cart for your baggage and also for making telephone calls etc. Thereafter move towards the baggage claim carousel assigned to your flight, simply follow the signs directing you to the place. Collect your luggage and look for signs directing you to customs clearance. At the customs clearance they may ask you to open your bags for a security check/verification.

Domestic Flight
Since the Port-of-entry may not be your final destination in the U.S. and you have to proceed onwards, locate the counter for the domestic airline you will be taking to your final destination. Above all don't hesitate or feel shy to ask for help from airport support staff (at information desks) or police officers, if you need anything.
Follow signs directing you to your domestic flight because you will need a boarding pass. If it is far away, take the Airport shuttle (bus) service, which is free. If you don't know where to get down, tell the driver in advance and he will drop you off at the proper place. At the counter (podium) check-in your baggage and get your boarding pass issued and ready.

On arrival at the final destination, collect your baggage once again and look around for that someone who may be there to receive you. If you don't find anyone or you already have specific instructions, follow those, otherwise call up (telephone) your employer's area coordinator whose tel. number you should be carrying. Therefore remember to keep phone numbers handy. Get information from the area-coordinator on the stay arrangements made for you. Finally, if no one comes to pick you up, try to locate the information counter from where you will get all the information regarding how to call for taxi and so on. Also the Public Transport section of this guide will help you in understanding the travel facilities available in the U.S.
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