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Your Best/Worst Experiences With Customs?  
User currently offlineTranspac787 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 3163 posts, RR: 13
Posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 6358 times:

BEST:

ORD- Very unlikely, I know. But I arrived from EZE at 500am and from stepping off the 763 to walking out of the customs hall was literally no more than 3-4 minutes.

NRT- It's impressive how easy customs is in NRT, for such a huge airport with so much traffic. But, the Japanese seem to have a knack for making everything so easy and efficient.


WORST:

HKG- Absolutely giant customs hall, with huge lines. I probably hit it at a bad time, but still.

KWI- Customs officials are very nice, just the process takes a very long time, about an hour from start to finish.


A340-500: 4 engines 4 long haul. 777-200LR: 2 engines 4 longer haul
50 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineSA7700 From South Africa, joined Dec 2003, 3432 posts, RR: 26
Reply 1, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 6353 times:
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BEST:

SIN & CHC - Fast and efficient. I had no problems whatsoever and were on the curbside in no time.


WORST:

SYD - Arriving from CHC on an EK flight. Immigration was fast and I had my luggage in no time, until a customs official ruined my umpteenth Australian visit. I still wonder what gave me away or whether the custom official just had PMS....  Confused The old hag walked me over for a full inspection. Whilst everything in my luggage was shucked out and my empty suitcases were sent for additional scans, I was then told that they found positive traces of marijuana on my hairbrush. Absolutely flabbergasted, having never even seen a joint, I was subjected to a battery of unveiled repeated questions by 2 male customs officials. In the background the old hag jabbered the entire time. Just short of a strip search, I was then told by one of the male officials that they were pretty sure that I was not carrying any illicit drugs and were free to enter Australia. After being utterly humiliated, all of them walked away and left me to repack the contents of my luggage.
I'm fully aware that customs officials have a job to do, but the 3 of them, are definitely not a very good advertisement or welcome for other tourists to Australia.

HKG - The same gripe as the OP. Huge lines at customs & immigration when arriving/departing to-or-from HKG.



When you are doing stuff that nobody has done before, there is no manual – Kevin McCloud (Grand Designs)
User currently offlineGemuser From Australia, joined Nov 2003, 5554 posts, RR: 6
Reply 2, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 6342 times:

Best: CPH, No line, Immigration officer looks a passport 3-4 seconds, stamps it, hands it back with a happy "Welcome to Denmark" smile and we walk away.
Baggage takes 10 minutes and we walk straight to curb side, customs?, what customs?

Worst: LAX, every time. Not less than 1.5/2 hrs to clear C&I, surliest, rudest C&I offers I have ever met. Even those from the PRC were nicer.


Gemuser



DC23468910;B72172273373G73873H74374475275376377L77W;A319 320321332333343;BAe146;C402;DHC6;F27;L188;MD80MD85
User currently offlineBbinn333 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 6338 times:

BEST :

YYZ Terminal 1


WORST :

MCO


User currently offlineWILCO737 From Greenland, joined Jun 2004, 8906 posts, RR: 76
Reply 4, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 6337 times:
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HEAD MODERATOR

Best: PDX (had a 20 min chat with the immigration officer)
Very good as well: IKA The guy there spoke German and helped me with the visa thingy I had to fill out.

Worst: SFO this dude said I need a visa for the US when I am on vacation. It took me 20 minutes to convince him  banghead 
Worst: ILN as crew I was called a terrorist by the immigration officer! I was so shocked that I didn't do anything about. And no, it was not clear if he was joking or not. But he didn't smile or anything. unbelievable... I've never seen him since then... Otherwise......

WILCO737 (MD11F)
 airplane 



It it's not Boeing, I am not going.
User currently onlineCrimsonNL From Netherlands, joined Dec 2007, 1801 posts, RR: 42
Reply 5, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 6320 times:
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CHAT OPERATOR

Best: Probably at home, wont take more then 15 seconds.

Worst; DTW

Me and my dad flew standby from AMS to DEN, we got on the first NW flight into DTW and there we had to change. A very unfortunate S in front of my name, and another SSSS on my boarding pass. We had a little questioning, then the customs lady started searching our stuff very very slowly (she was kind though) After that we had to walk trough a port with the air sample's being analyzed. And a customs officer started wiping our stuff with some fancy cloth, which was analyzed for explosive samples. Sure I've got nothing to hide, and those folks are just doing their job. But due to our tight connection time we had to hurry a lot, and run trough the terminal (we had 10 minutes to get the flight) For all of you folks who know the DTW terminal.... running from one end to the other after a 7-8 hour flight is no fun! I didn't know there was a tram!

Worst: MIA

Our KL flight was delayed, and arrived 45 minutes late, together with aeroMexico and some other flights, which resulted that the NON AIR CONDITIONED customs hall was filled with a few hundred people. I figure it was 30 degrees Celsius there, after 2 HOURS we finally got through.

[Edited 2008-08-31 12:11:14]


Fly DC-Jets!
User currently offlineRussianJet From Kyrgyzstan, joined Jul 2007, 7633 posts, RR: 23
Reply 6, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 6312 times:
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Immigration, Customs - different processes.


✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈
User currently offlineCragley From Australia, joined Jul 2004, 426 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 6278 times:

Best : MUC - it took me about 2 minutes to clear customs and immigration.

AMS is always good too and there is never a drama.


Worst : YVR would have to be THE slowest airport in the world to clear customs and immigration. Both times I have visited it has taken me about 3 hours to get out due to HUGE lines.

MSP : my last experience consisted of 3 officers detaining my entire family and subjecting us to questioning for 4 hours before refusing my brother entry on the grounds of 'misrepresentation' but couldn;'t elaborate. I was called a liar and that everything I said was 'bullsh*t'

'So you are telling me that you would get on plane and fly to another country to visit a friend?'

'Sure'

'You are full of it, that is total Bullsh*t'


Honestly, where do they find these people? I have been to the states about 20 times and have never had a problem. This lady made it personal for whatever reason.

I am going through LAX on thursday on my way to Toronto and am concerned that they might refuse me for whatever reason comes to their mind. The head of homeland security was interviewed about their process and said that entry is 100% dependent on the immigration official and that there is no appeal process!!!

Scary! I will let you all know how I go  Smile


User currently offlineTennis69 From Qatar, joined Apr 2007, 392 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 6265 times:
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Worst ATL - on three different occasions I have had personal items taken from me by force by US customs agents in ATL.

User currently offlineRussianJet From Kyrgyzstan, joined Jul 2007, 7633 posts, RR: 23
Reply 9, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 6238 times:
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Quoting Cragley (Reply 7):
MSP : my last experience consisted of 3 officers detaining my entire family and subjecting us to questioning for 4 hours before refusing my brother entry on the grounds of 'misrepresentation' but couldn;'t elaborate. I was called a liar and that everything I said was 'bullsh*t'

'So you are telling me that you would get on plane and fly to another country to visit a friend?'

'Sure'

'You are full of it, that is total Bullsh*t'

That is IMMIGRATION.

This thread asks about customs. There have been other threads specifically about Immigration experiences.

Customs and Immigration are not the same thing.



✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈
User currently offlinePGNCS From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 2757 posts, RR: 45
Reply 10, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 6216 times:

Best: SNN, LGW, CVG, MSP

Worst: JFK, JFK, JFK, JFK


User currently offlineTennis69 From Qatar, joined Apr 2007, 392 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 6186 times:
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Best CAI - their customs people will let anything thru for the right amount of money. I brought bacon and other pork products into Egypt after every home leave and if they looked in my bags the most it ever cost me was 50 EG pounds. No hastles, no problems.

User currently offlineRussianJet From Kyrgyzstan, joined Jul 2007, 7633 posts, RR: 23
Reply 12, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 6159 times:
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Quoting Tennis69 (Reply 8):
Worst ATL - on three different occasions I have had personal items taken from me by force by US customs agents in ATL.



Quoting Tennis69 (Reply 11):
Best CAI - their customs people will let anything thru for the right amount of money. I brought bacon and other pork products into Egypt after every home leave and if they looked in my bags the most it ever cost me was 50 EG pounds. No hastles, no problems.

Hmmmm. And what was taken from you in ATL may we ask? You weren't trying to bribe them to allow prohibited items through as well were you?



✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈
User currently offlineDlowwa From Canada, joined Apr 2005, 7328 posts, RR: 31
Reply 13, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 6153 times:
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Quoting WILCO737 (Reply 4):
Best: PDX (had a 20 min chat with the immigration officer)
Very good as well: IKA The guy there spoke German and helped me with the visa thingy I had to fill out.

Worst: SFO this dude said I need a visa for the US when I am on vacation. It took me 20 minutes to convince him

Ha Ha...I totally agree.

Best: PDX - Have flown in several times from NRT on NW, customs/immigration have always been extremely friendly and talkative... good-natured in general.

Worst: SFO - Returning from Central America, wearing a t-shirt with Che Guevara's face on it (stupid, I know), the first words out of the immigration officer's mouth "So, are you a socialist?" which prefaced a joyless five minutes of questioning about nearly every stamp in my passport. At least I didn't get a secondary check/inspection.


User currently offlineElite From Hong Kong, joined Jun 2006, 2784 posts, RR: 10
Reply 14, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks ago) and read 6143 times:

Best experience - PER. . . the Aussies are very strict about not letting any food into the country, but I brought it along anyways and checked "yes" on the pre-landing forms. I was expecting the food to be confiscated, but the customs asked me what I was doing here, I said camping, and then he winked and said "then there's no problem" and let me through.

Awesome  Wink


User currently offlineTennis69 From Qatar, joined Apr 2007, 392 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (5 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 6102 times:
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Quoting RussianJet (Reply 12):
Hmmmm. And what was taken from you in ATL may we ask? You weren't trying to bribe them to allow prohibited items through as well were you?

ATL customs got my cuban cigars on three different occasions and no bribe was even contemplated much less attempted.


User currently offlineSignol From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2007, 2985 posts, RR: 8
Reply 16, posted (5 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 6096 times:

I've never had any really bad (or really good) experiences with customs...
Our first trip to New Zealand, I was only about 12 and travelling with my sister, unaccompanied. We didn't know about the no fruit rules, and had packed a bag of tangerines. Obviously they would have been confiscated, so we ate them there and then in the queue - about 5 each  Smile
On another occasion, in LAX, a customs official with a drug sniffer dog asked if we wouldn't mind helping to train the dog by them hiding a drug package in our case. I was fine with it, after remembering the officer's name and number. The dog came and found the package, and we were free to go.

signol



Flights booked: none :(
User currently offlineRussianJet From Kyrgyzstan, joined Jul 2007, 7633 posts, RR: 23
Reply 17, posted (5 years 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 6080 times:
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Quoting Tennis69 (Reply 15):
ATL customs got my cuban cigars on three different occasions and no bribe was even contemplated much less attempted.

I assume you knew they were prohibited, at least after the first occasion they were confiscated. Why did you carry them on two further occasions? If you're silly enough to do that then don't complain about it afterwards.



✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈
User currently offlineRwy04LGA From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 3136 posts, RR: 8
Reply 18, posted (5 years 7 months 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 6055 times:

The best = EDI, BOG, BOM, CPT, IST, JFK....no customs at all.

Worst = NRT......Emptied out all my stuff ONLY because I was alone on vacation (not business) and there for only a week.



Just accept that some days, you're the pigeon, and other days the statue
User currently offlineRussianJet From Kyrgyzstan, joined Jul 2007, 7633 posts, RR: 23
Reply 19, posted (5 years 7 months 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 6033 times:
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Quoting Rwy04LGA (Reply 18):
ONLY because I was alone on vacation (not business) and there for only a week.

You don't know that, even if that was what they told you.



✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈
User currently offlineRwy04LGA From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 3136 posts, RR: 8
Reply 20, posted (5 years 7 months 2 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 6013 times:



Quoting RussianJet (Reply 19):
You don't know that, even if that was what they told you.

That would be the same for every thing else in life, wouldn't it? But that's what he said and I took him at his word. I'm not that paranoid to doubt everything anyone ever says to me.

PS...Don't forget 'There', 'Than', and 'Then'.



Just accept that some days, you're the pigeon, and other days the statue
User currently offlineTranspac787 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 3163 posts, RR: 13
Reply 21, posted (5 years 7 months 2 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 6010 times:



Quoting Rwy04LGA (Reply 20):
PS...Don't forget 'There', 'Than', and 'Then'.

What??

Anyhow, I guess you just had bad luck in NRT. I've been through there 4 times now and never had a problem with them. Often times I only stay for a single night too and they never give me weird looks, much less searches, for it. So maybe you just got a customs officer with a chip on his shoulder.



A340-500: 4 engines 4 long haul. 777-200LR: 2 engines 4 longer haul
User currently offlineRwy04LGA From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 3136 posts, RR: 8
Reply 22, posted (5 years 7 months 2 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 6003 times:



Quoting Transpac787 (Reply 21):
What??

Note RussianJet's signature.



Just accept that some days, you're the pigeon, and other days the statue
User currently offlineTennis69 From Qatar, joined Apr 2007, 392 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (5 years 7 months 2 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 5991 times:
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Quoting RussianJet (Reply 17):
I assume you knew they were prohibited, at least after the first occasion they were confiscated. Why did you carry them on two further occasions? If you're silly enough to do that then don't complain about it afterwards.

Of course I know they are prohibited by my gov't and I suppose you think that makes them right in taking by force my personal belongings. I personally do not believe that any gov't should have the right to designate what is legal and/or illegal. To consume a product or not to consume it should be left up to the individual.

Sure they found them 3 times, but they missed them the other 9 times that I have brought them home. So...I guess I have the last laugh.


User currently offlineOHLHD From Finland, joined Dec 2004, 3962 posts, RR: 25
Reply 24, posted (5 years 7 months 2 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 5982 times:

My new passport has an " acceptable " error so it is checked every time when I arrive. ( There ís something wrong at the picture section).

Worst: MUC - whenever I arrive there from a Non-Schengen state they check it several minutes and even one time they took me with them. I hold a Austrian passport btw.

Good: CDG - never had a problem there when connecting or arriving! Always friendly.  Smile


25 SOBHI51 : I don't understand why are you even bribing them,importing pork products to Egypt is allowed.
26 GFFgold : The silliest customs search I have endured was in AMS arriving from the UK. I asked them just what, exactly, could I possibly bring to Holland from En
27 Andz : I think any good one is when you don't get stopped! Worst: On my first trip to Germany in 1990 I flew JNB-FRA-DUS. No problems in FRA but when we arri
28 RussianJet : What an astonishing statement. So, I guess you are some kind of nihilist-anarchist then? Beside the point anyway. Whatever you do or don't agree with
29 Woody71 : I'm curious. Did you go through customs in FRA or DUS becaue in Europe you go through customs at your final destination not your point of entry. Was
30 RussianJet : Germany, eh? I suppose you mean it was your 'wurst' experience then?
31 Baexecutive : Hey, I've got a good experience to report, went to Orlando the other week, waited an age in the queue but when I got to the TSA agent he was as nice
32 Novak500 : Best was YYZ (August 2008), not one question from the customs agent, just sent me right through. Worst was Cancun (March 2002) spent an enormous amoun
33 RussianJet : I'm glad to hear it, though I don't believe we ever talked about TSA or other airport security guys!
34 Baexecutive : Don't Start
35 Tennis69 : I am not either. I believe that I, or anyone else, should be allowed to do anything as long as it does not affect the life or property of another per
36 Andz : I honestly don't remember, but the flight was a regular domestic flight so there were passengers who hadn't been on an international leg. It was defi
37 UN_B732 : I've never had a problem with JFK. Having cleared at T1, T3, T4, and T8; I can't say it's pleasant.. but I've never had to wait too long. Worst has go
38 Elite : I am not sure if you are allowed to just bring them in your suitcase though.
39 RussianJet : You're obviously entitled to believe what you want, and there are many laws etc. that I don't agree with. However, knowlingly breaking the law and th
40 Rwy04LGA : I didn't know about the no fruit rules either and ate my Chinese pear while waiting to enter AKL. And since I've never been inspected coming into the
41 Growly150 : Worst: DFW- from CUN after a 4 hour delay and fewer hours of sleep. They ran out of customs/immigration cards in English in the flight, so knowing eno
42 Babybus : NRT was my best experience too! It can't get any easier. JED is bad. Long queues for immigration then a long wait for the bag and then they customs g
43 TimePilot : The only bad experience I've had so far was at ORD. I had 15 minutes to get from the international terminal to terminal 3. The line to get through cus
44 RussianJet : So, what happened? They checked it out and found out is was all ok and then sent you on my way? OH NO! How awful!
45 PlateMan : BEST Arlanda Airport (Stockholm)--I had to clear customs 4 times in one day due to a problem. No lines, no questions, quick stamp of the passport. Ams
46 TruemanQLD : BEST NRT: What customs? SYD: No customs WORST BNE: everything was inspected... took forever
47 Pe@rson : Not customs, but immigration. I was crossing by foot from C. Juarez into El Paso. I was dressed nicely and I was polite, yet I was detained for 1 hour
48 RussianJet : For about the twentieth time in this thread.......that would be immigration, NOT customs. Do you even understand the difference? The opening question
49 RussianJet : Further to this, there is no such thing as a 'citizen line' - there are queues for EU/EEA/Swiss passport holders, and a queue for all other passports
50 Cmtehori : Best: JFK T3, and BOG Though they searched all my bags in BOG, the agents were very friendly and careful. Besides, they managed to put everything back
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