I believe that was a TSA luggage check, not the bags being checked by officials when leaving the airport in Aruba.
Probably so. That was almost ten years ago. In the meantime, lots of US airports have those huge x-ray machines where suitcases get checked right away and if there is something suspicious, the passengers get asked right away, to open the suitcase. At least, that's done at our airport now.
Here is a google translation of the recent article in Noticia.com. There is also a photo at the link:
Long lines of tourists at airport control
Posted on 27/05/2016 8:44 am AST | Updated on 05/27/2016 8:44 am AST
ORANJESTAD - Photos on Facebook of long lines of tourists standing with their luggage waiting for customs control, have caused some commotion this afternoon. Apparently, the customs argued for two days of intensive checks on the luggage of arriving tourists. Given the noise and the potential negative impact on tourism - as this weekend Soul Beach Festival takes place - soon found a job "from above" to stop the checks. However, the chairman of the customs union SADA immediately gave a statement to NoticiaCla.com, in which he contradicts the complaints and allegations.
HARMFUL TO TOURISM AND CONCERT
The chairman of the customs union SADA, Eduard Maduro said in a conversation with NoticiaCla.com there was noise and regrettable action because "we just do our job." The criticism focused on the fact that this waschosen precisely these two days of intensive control, just as thousands of visitors arrive at the Soul Beach Festival in Aruba. Commenting on NoticiaCla.com the minister regrets the actions intensified, especially as the tourists thereby had to stand in line for hours. Several tourists NoticiaCla.com told that they have been at least an hour and 20 minutes in line. They also indicated that the allegations on the part of customs was incorrect. They also told that only two people were deployed to carry out the checks. Something that Customs, in turn, denies again.
According to Maduro indeed tighter controls had been carried out over the past two days , also with regard to tourists from America. The impression is that "tourists from America get VIP treatment," and this, according to Maduro means that these tourists have a free ticket thinking to take anything without paying customs duties, but also that they can take 'illegal' stuff such as drugs and weapons. Lately this is a fact, according to the union president.
Maduro says NoticiaCla.com the two days tighter control have paid off. There are many drugs discovered by tourists from America. Normally American tourists just try leave with drugs. According to the union president is also prevented by such actions that weapons or other illegal items such as harpoons, enter Aruba. Also charged to various tourist duties.
Maduro also says that it is "not quite true" that people had to stand in line for hours, there were indeed long queues, but the finish went to tell his raft, because sufficient staff were deployed, according to him.
I guess it would all depend on the volume of arriving passengers, their point of origin(?), and also if there is something major taking place on the island. The Soul Beach Music Festival is something of a big draw for Aruba near the end of the May, and marks the start of the Summer Vacation Period as a lot of kids are getting out of school relatively soon which means a lot of families will be making the annual pilgrimage to Aruba.
I've never experienced any delays in going through Immigration, Baggage claim or customs. Granted on my first two visits the airline neglected/forgot to give us the Immigration Cards prior to arrival and we had to fill them out while standing in line in the Immigration Hall. Even then it did not take all that long before we were all outside and one our way. On my last two visits I arrived on a Thursday and in both cases we were in the arrival area in under twenty minutes. Of course one of those arrivals was after 11pm and most of the airport was already shut down for the night, talk about a Ghost Town. And on the second occasion I arrived late afternoon, early evening as the arriving and departing flights were starting to wind down. Regardless of how long it will take to get through Immigration and Customs it will be all worth it once I get outside to commence my Happy Visit on the One Happy Island.