Houston Intercontinental Airport's international terminal is not very old. In 2007, I've flown into the new terminal twice, and have to say that it is a vast improvement over the old. It is spacious and orderly, and the staff is very efficient. And what I like best, the staff is also very polite. In the 15 years I've lived overseas, I've used many points of entry into the US, and "polite staff" isn't a comment I've often made. Quite the opposite, in fact. So, it is very refreshing to meet polite staff in an international terminal at a US airport.
The good service at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport makes a huge difference to jetlagged passengers arriving in the country after a long, tiring journey. There is nothing worse than meeting with pushy, rude customs officers. It is bad enough for me, a citizen of the US and someone familiar with the culture and accent. It must be horrible for foreigners coming into the country. In fact, that is exactly what I have heard from many of my friends from overseas who have traveled to the US (with LA ranking as the airport with the rudest staff — Minneapolis being a close second, from reports I've heard from many travelers). It is a shame that this is the first face many travelers meet upon their arrival in the US.
So, kudos to the people in Houston who make arriving in the country not only palatable, but convenient and comfortable. And also to those who put together and maintain the excellent new facilities.
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