Canadians don’t like Customs officers and we lie about our holidays

wdr-620-customs-canada-tunnelMaybe we’re just too guilty.

A fun study by cheapflights.ca finds that Canadians get most stressed on their holidays by the folks at customs and immigration.

Asked what causes us to fuss the most when we travel, 27 per cent of Canadians said it was those nice, inquiring folks at immigration and customs. Who, I must say, generally are pretty good. Not all, but most. Still, I tend to agree. Even when I haven’t bought anything other than a travel magazine or a t-shirt I always feel a bit apprehensive approaching that desk and those men and women in uniforms.

There’s some guy in the U.S. with my name who gets into a lot of trouble, so I often get pulled over by U.S. Immigration as well. Which isn’t fun when you want to get to the gate and relax. But it’s just the way it is these days when you travel.

Getting back to the cheapflights.ca study, I see that the second most stressful dealings we have, after customs and immigration workers, is with security personnel (16 per cent). I fully understand this, too.

I don’t know about you, but I find the vagaries of airport security absolutely infuriating. I have a Nexus pass for entry into the U.S. and back into Canada (highly recommend one if you don’t have one, as they really speed things up, at least when the machines are working, which isn’t nearly enough of the time). And I’m elite status or something like that with Air Canada. So I usually get to go into the easier lineup at security at Pearson when I’m travelling to the U.S. The last couple times they told me not to take my laptop out of my bag and that I didn’t have to take my shoes off. Which is really great and makes you feel like you’re somehow cheating. But other times I have to strip off my belt and shoes and take my laptop out and have my teeth examined and my socks analyzed and my x-ray taken by a giant, humming machine.

Some U.S. airports are quite strict. Others have different rules. And it drives me crazy.

husband-and-wife-fightingWhat I really have to laugh about with the cheapflights.ca study isn’t so much that 27 per cent of us are stressed by customs/immigration workers and 16 per cent by security personnel but that 14 per cent of Canadians find the person who causes them the most stress is their spouse or significant other.

Ha! Our loved-ones are only slightly less tolerable than folks who demand we strip nearly naked and walk through body scanners and make us empty our pockets of all our money. Of course, there’s probably a joke there somewhere about losing our money and being married but I’m not going there.

My wife is very calm at the airport and travelling with her is a joy. I mean that. She’s so unstressed by the whole thing that she falls asleep on the plane BEFORE IT EVEN TAKES OFF. I can barely sleep on an overnight trip when I’m exhausted and she nods as soon as he latches her seatbelt on a one-hour flight to New York City or Montreal.

I, on the other hand, drive her crazy by complaining about inconsistencies with security at different airports and bitching about broken down Nexus machines and sending out Twitter notes to Pearson when my luggage takes a half hour to arrive yet again. I didn’t take the cheapflights survey, but maybe she did …

One other bit I’ll mention is that 60 per cent of those surveyed said they use social media after a trip. Of those, 62 per cent said they share negative experiences as well as positive ones. But 38 per cent said they pretend everything on their holiday was perfect.

Which suggests almost four in ten of us are liars.

No wonder we’re nervous in front of customs and immigration officials.


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