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Florida Guide > Travelling

Flying to Tampa with British Airways Part 5

Immigration, Green forms, and silly mistakes.

Our British Airways ‘plane has landed safely in Tampa after an excellent flight, and we are quickly off the ‘plane, and soon we will be at our lovely villa in Orlando. We walk down the corridor, towards the Immigration Hall. We queue in a long line before we reach the hall, and a lady stands at the front checking our green forms. Although we have been submitting our ESTA information for some time, it is still the green forms which are necessary. Now I never fill in the green form, never really trusted with it (and for good reason! ) so it is a bit of a shock when the lady tells us that my husband has missed out a bit so we will have to go and fill this in before we can join the queue. Of course, I resist the temptation to express my disbelief at such a mistake by one who has been completing these forms for years, and who won’t let me near a green form!

We move over to a desk where, for some reason, I am holding the forms, so I start to fill in the missing part. Bad decision, as I immediately make a mistake, filling in our dates of birth in the wrong section. Oh dear! My husband is not best pleased, and says ‘Just cross it out, and let’s get going. ’ There ensues an argument about why it’s not a good idea to do that and how we must fill it in properly. I win the argument, hand over new forms to better half, who then spends quite a long time filling them in, AGAIN. Of course I am not popular, we are both tired and the queue at immigration is now very long and slow moving. We join it right at the back. Now I guess I won' t ever be allowed to touch the green forms again. But at least I will be able to remind him frequently of the error of HIS ways!

We eventually reach the desk, and are virtually the last people to do so. The immigration officer takes his time and asks us several questions about why we are here again, having flown in during February, so we tell him we have a house in Orlando. He appears satisfied by our answers and after fingerprints and photographs we make our way to collect our suitcases. We are a bit concerned, as by now our luggage must have been going round the carousel for ages as we have been so long, but it is nowhere to be seen and it is a few more minutes before, to our relief, our suitcases appear. We haul them onto a trolley and off we go through customs, where we are waved through. We must catch a train to the main terminal building as we are in a satellite. We manage to carry all our suitcases up the escalator and trundle them onto the little train which arrives quickly. It is a fascinating but quick trip and it is interesting to see what a new airport is like. It is a glorious evening, with the sun shining and the sky blue it is SO good to be here.

At last we arrive at the main terminal and are a bit unsure of where to go but are directed to large elevators which take us down to the car hire desks. We have booked a car through www. uscarhire. co. uk and we are pleased to see that there are absolutely no queues. We have booked with Budget and the formalities are completed speedily. We have reserved a four door Compact car, but we are given a free upgrade to a four door Intermediate. After gathering up a map we make our way outside to the car park where our car is waiting, a gorgeous almost new black Dodge Avenger. It has leather seats and it is SO comfortable. Our luggage fits easily into the trunk, and after a quick check of the car, and an adjustment of the mirrors my husband reverses out of the parking space. We are on our way!

I can’t wait to get to our villa, and it' s getting late – now nearly midnight, UK time. We have a 70 mile drive to complete, but the sun is shining, it is lovely and warm and we are delighted to be here in the USA again. Flying into Tampa has, so far been easy – apart from the green forms!


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Page added on: 2 October 2010
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