I'm meeting a reader just north of the YYC passenger terminal on Saturday, about 11:30 a.m. Calgary time. He knows of some picnic tables near the meeting spot shown, and is bringing me non-airport food. (I just had to brag about that).
View I suggest this meeting place. in a larger map
If you're in the area, feel free to join us. BYOP. Don't come far, because this does involve airplanes, and as such is susceptible to circumstance. I'll try to post an Saturday morning update confirming that I'm on schedule.
Calgary airport has the all time worst Immigration officials. Don't fly in from the USA!
I was working for Nortel at the time, and went to Canada for a meeting with a customer at the Nortel offices. The Immigration guy wanted to know why a Canadian company needed to fly in a US citizen for a meeting. "Can no one in Canada do that job?" he said.
"Apparently not", said I. Not the correct response. I got the 3rd degree and emerged 20 minutes later.
Canadian immigration seem to working hard to take away the title of "worlds worst" from the US Homeland Security.
As I'm a Canadian living in Canada, that won't be an issue for me. Going the other way I have a script written by my boss for the border crossing so I don't accidentally say some word that gets me or the airplane detained.
It happened to one of our mechanics. He was flying to where one of our airplanes was on the ground, waiting for his attention. He was turned back and we had a week delay while we sourced local talent. After the dust settled and the boss called to find out what was going on, the US immigration bosses admitted that the mechanic had every right to enter the US to maintain a Canadian airplane for a Canadian employer, but the kicker is that they didn't remove the notation from his file about trying to immigrate illegally for work, so the poor guy can't go fishing in Minnesota or go to Vegas anymore.
It's treacherous! I have admiration for anyone who has an accent or a skin colour not matching that of the majority of immigration officials and who manages to travel frequently for business.
Pity the mechanic that will have to apply for a visa every time he wants to go to the US... It's much better to have a script prepared that will get you past the officer. (The subtle difference between "doing business" and "looking for work".)
My answer to the "can nobody here do that work?" question, which I get from several countries, is always a nonchalant "I dunno -- I just go where I'm told". It's never failed to move things along.
Kind of a silly question, anyway -- who runs demographics on the workforce of the nation they're visiting before they board the plane? One can theorize they're fishing for a certain kind of response.
N6349C: How long ago was the visit to Calgary - Nortel has shut down a heckuva lot of operations lately. Also, I have found the customs and immigration officers for both the USA and Canada used to be snarly.... now they seem to have a much better balance in terms of what they are looking for.
Story: Was travelling to LAX with two co-workers, pre-clearing US immigration in Ottawa for the Ottawa-Chicago-LA flight. Worker #1 goes through. Worker #2 goes to the counter, answers a few questions, much consternation, and #2 comes back to join me in line - the computer had crashed. So we chat for 5-10 minutes, and wave at #1, and eventually #2 is once again called to the desk. When I go to the desk I handed the guy my passport and said "all the same answers as Rob". The only response I got was much stamping of paper and "enjoy your trip".
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