ozglobal
Topic Author
Posts: 2594
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2004 7:33 am

Put through US Border Secondary Security for being on a RTW ticket

Thu Nov 03, 2016 11:22 pm

I can't recall ever posting this story, but I'd be interested to know if others have had the same (absurd) experience.

I used to have a role (2006-2009) that required I do a 2 week tour of our company sites in Asia every 3 months. Being based in Paris, this could be achieved by a round trip plus a circular series of segments returning to Paris from the same Asian port of arrival, or via a multi-city circular set of segments. In J, these tickets were super expensive 14K euros, if bought this way. With some research I realised that a One World DONE4 (Four Continents RTW) ticket would allow all the same flights, cities and airlines in J for only 5,5K euros, returning via Nth or Sth America to Europe. Naturally, I could better stretch my travel budget with the RTW J option and so did so many times. I would usually take the opportunity to stop in NY or SF if I had time, to visit a friend for a day or a weekend, but on other occasions, travelled-out after 2 weeks, I would just want to get home, so would go, for example, NRT-JFK-CDG or HKG-SFO-CDG, with the US just being a point of international transit (no layover).

This 'behaviour,' transiting via the US was considered highly 'suspicious' by the US Border Security staff and even some airline check-in staff.

On one occasion at SFO, I arrived from Asia on CX from HKG and had 3 hrs before boarding BA for LHR-CDG. The conversation with Border Security went like this:

BS: What is the nature of your stay in the US?
Me: Actually, I'm not staying, I'm in Transit.

BS: In transit??
Me: Yes, I've just arrived from HKG and I'm going directly to my next flight on to LHR and CDG.

BS: So are you in the US for business or leisure?
Me: In fact, neither, I'm just catching my next flight.

Shows boarding passes on to CDG.

BS: You're on a one-way ticket!
Me: No, I'm on a round the world ticket and this is my next flight.

Checks computer ....

BS: You've done this before!
Me: Yes, about every 3 months, actually.

BS: Why are you doing this??
Me: It's not that much longer and it's much cheaper.

BS: What sort of ticket did you say?
Me: Round the World...

BS: Really? (Interested now). How much are they?
Me: About 60% less than round trip...

Believes me at last and lets me pass.


The much less funny occasion was on a BA One World RTW ticket (paper still in those days), where I had to collect boarding passes from the BA desk in SFO before going onto my BA flights to LHR and CDG. The check in agent said: You're on a one-way ticket. I said no, I'm on a round the world ticket. She insisted, "All I see is a one way ticket." I said, "But you (BA) sold me this RTW ticket, It must be in your system," Looks again perplexed and seem to feel she being defied. Stamps me with "SSSS" and off I go at TSA to SECONDARY for 90mins of grilling and deconstruction of all of my worldly possessions. Most other fellow detainees looked like they were from Pakistan or Yemen.

Fortunately, I was in good time for my next flight so had just a few minutes in the lounge before boarding post security. When the lounge staff saw the SSSS on my boarding pass they were taken aback until I explained it was put there by their colleague at check in! They were horrified. When I explained the reason, they were more horrified, as they could clearly see all the sectors already flown on my RTW BA ticket...

Has anyone else experienced this type of total freak-out due to transiting via the US on a RTW ticket?

I'd be interested to hear.
When all's said and done, there'll be more said than done.
 
User avatar
N62NA
Posts: 4408
Joined: Sun Aug 10, 2003 1:05 am

Re: Put through US Border Secondary Security for being on a RTW ticket

Fri Nov 04, 2016 12:07 am

You have a good reason (huge price savings) for transiting in the USA. For anyone else I would encourage that they stay far, far away from the USA as our Customs and Border Patrol officers can be (and often are) quite harsh. Now if you happened to just walk across the border.... free food, housing, medical and education for you!
 
commpilot
Posts: 116
Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2008 5:21 pm

Re: Put through US Border Secondary Security for being on a RTW ticket

Fri Nov 04, 2016 2:24 am

Sounds about right for narrow minded government workers. Odd that I did an rtw from the USA made up of all separate tickets on totally different random airlines aka the super cheap way and no country cared on entry or transit.
 
ozglobal
Topic Author
Posts: 2594
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2004 7:33 am

Re: Put through US Border Secondary Security for being on a RTW ticket

Fri Nov 04, 2016 3:59 am

commpilot wrote:
Sounds about right for narrow minded government workers. Odd that I did an rtw from the USA made up of all separate tickets on totally different random airlines aka the super cheap way and no country cared on entry or transit.


Not really. It's only the US that seems to freak over this. Staff just cannot digest the notion of someone 'in-transit' via the US. Your itinerary did not do this.
When all's said and done, there'll be more said than done.
 
LGAviation
Posts: 861
Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2015 10:14 am

Re: Put through US Border Secondary Security for being on a RTW ticket

Fri Nov 04, 2016 5:20 am

I wonder if any other country actually checks your flight reservation as being one-way, roundtrip, open-jaw or rtw automatically. i've only experienced this so far in the US. When transiting, I'm so glad there is now APC and you don't face most of the questions anymore. I.T.I. is another great feature but still the process of international transit can be mindblowing to U.S. agents. On the other hand though, I've also experienced lots of nice border guards especially on my recent Italy-Chile trip via MIA and DFW on a German passport. The Italian contractors were the only once finding this odd, while the border guard in Miami was just like 'Why do you go to Chile? America is so much better' than the guard at DFW was Chilean American.
2018: ADD CPH DAR DEN DME DUB FRA HAH HAM IST JIB KEF LYR MEL OSL PEK PKC PVG RAK STN SVO SYD YVR
 
Cubsrule
Posts: 13995
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 12:13 pm

Re: Put through US Border Secondary Security for being on a RTW ticket

Fri Nov 04, 2016 11:45 am

My experience, and I think it's universal at least outside of places like France where the border guards never talk to you, is that guards sometimes get curious. I remember a recent trip to Canada where the CBSA agent became genuinely interested in a nearby tourist attraction to which we were going that he had never visited. I'm not sure why the curiosity is irksome.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
Aptivaboy
Posts: 795
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2016 3:32 pm

Re: Put through US Border Secondary Security for being on a RTW ticket

Wed Nov 09, 2016 5:01 pm

as our Customs and Border Patrol officers can be (and often are) quite harsh


I'm not sure I completely agree with that. The TSA folks I've dealt with were more harried and scattered than actually rude or harsh, with one exception. The big problem, in my view, is that they're inadequately and improperly trained, with poor supervisory oversight. I'm always amazed at the number of them who don't know their own internal TSA policies on things like babies, breast pumps, CPAPs, other medical devices, frisking small children, claiming that active duty military can't wear their awards and decorations on their uniforms because they constitute safety issues, trying to take Joe Foss' Medal of Honor, etc. As a result, the bad ones tend to act really badly and make the entire agency look bad. On the other hand, the TSA folks at SNA and especially OGG were amongst the nicest, most professional ones I've encountered. Of course, living in Hawaii might have something to do with that. ;)
 
desertjets
Posts: 7693
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2000 3:12 pm

Re: Put through US Border Secondary Security for being on a RTW ticket

Wed Nov 09, 2016 5:51 pm

commpilot wrote:
Sounds about right for narrow minded government workers. Odd that I did an rtw from the USA made up of all separate tickets on totally different random airlines aka the super cheap way and no country cared on entry or transit.


From the first story it sounded like the CBP officer was actually fairly nice. I suspect they rarely if never see people on an RTW ticket transiting via the US.

What is irksome is that the BA agent at SFO didn't even understand their own ticketing categories and flagged the OP for the rectal probing.
Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
 
agentskelly
Posts: 21
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2016 2:19 pm

Re: Put through US Border Secondary Security for being on a RTW ticket

Thu Nov 10, 2016 12:42 pm

I asked one of my acquaintances who is an CBP Officer regarding RTW tickets and he says he's only twice seen a traveler with a RTW ticket when he was working out of ORD. Its considered a non-standard itinerary so differening on the airport your going into, it might be something new to the officer. Transit passengers are pretty common he says though.
 
User avatar
vhtje
Posts: 1011
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 12:40 pm

Re: Put through US Border Secondary Security for being on a RTW ticket

Wed Nov 16, 2016 12:58 am

On my first trip to the US in 2000, I was on a oneworld Explorer fare. Our itinerary was SYD > LAX > land segment > SFO > DFW > ORD > NYC > LHR... and onward through Europe and Asia.

At domestic AA departures at SFO, DFW and ORD and again at BA departures in JFK, we were given "extra security". In those pre-September 11th days, this consisted of hauling our heavy bags onto an extra screening scanner prior to check-in and having TSA go through them. I got tired of this after the 3rd time (our bags were heavy) so I queried why was happening repeatedly. The AA agent was awfully nice about it and explained it was because of the way our tickets was issued, we were automatically being flagged for extra security; furthermore she apologised and explained there was nothing she could do. We lived with it.

It does, however, tally with your story.
I only turn left when boarding aircraft. Well, mostly. All right, sometimes. OH OKAY - rarely.
 
Varsity1
Posts: 1959
Joined: Mon May 02, 2016 4:55 am

Re: Put through US Border Secondary Security for being on a RTW ticket

Tue Jul 04, 2017 10:07 pm

ozglobal wrote:
commpilot wrote:
Sounds about right for narrow minded government workers. Odd that I did an rtw from the USA made up of all separate tickets on totally different random airlines aka the super cheap way and no country cared on entry or transit.


Not really. It's only the US that seems to freak over this. Staff just cannot digest the notion of someone 'in-transit' via the US. Your itinerary did not do this.


Not just the USA. In 2015 I flew PHL-LHR, bus connection to LGW-KBP followed by KBP-FRA-PHL.

The board guard agents at LHR didn't believe I was leaving the U.K. They wanted to see evidence of my departure (LGW-KBP) and claimed my boarding pass was photoshopped. "I can't touch your phone, you are required to have paper proof of your departure" blah blah. It was a battle.

Most Europeans are completely naive to how difficult the UK's board process is because they never experience it.
"PPRuNe will no longer allow discussions regarding Etihad Airlines, its employees, executives, agents, or other representatives. Such threads will be deleted." - ME3 thug airlines suing anyone who brings negative information public..
 
ei146
Posts: 261
Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2010 9:54 pm

Re: Put through US Border Secondary Security for being on a RTW ticket

Wed Jul 05, 2017 8:31 am

In 2001 or so I was treated to a detailed inspection by customes in Darwin arriving in Australia. I was in the middle of longer trip from Europe with several stops along the way. I think it was MUC-LHR-SIN-DRW-ASP-SYD-BNE-SYD-FRA. The whole trip was only possible because I carefully combined bonus flights from different mileage programs. The immigration officer clearly could not deal with the bunch of different paper tickets I showed. He didn't seem to understand the concept of bonus tickets, showing 0 for the actual fare. He repeatedly asked where I got the tickets from. On the other hand I was not looking like the usual buisness traveler but rather scruffy with my bagpack, unshaved, after a few nights out. :smile:
Also my flight arrived in the very early morning, the airport was deserted and it looked like the officers were bored. So I guess they wanted something to do. I spent a few hours waiting, then unpacking my bag on a big table, even unfolding my underwear. In the end my hiking boots were deemed not clean enough to enter Australia and I had to wash them. I left the airport when the sun came up.
 
User avatar
RyanairGuru
Posts: 7888
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2006 3:59 am

Re: Put through US Border Secondary Security for being on a RTW ticket

Wed Jul 05, 2017 1:17 pm

Varsity1 wrote:

Most Europeans are completely naive to how difficult the UK's board process is because they never experience it.


Agreed 100%. The UK is IMHO hands down the worse in the world. They make US CBP look polite, professional and un-intrusive.

I've seen both sides as I have both British and Australian passports. Arriving on a British or European passport is as easy as anything, they barely even glance at you, whereas I have never been made to feel more like a criminal than arriving in the UK on my Australian passport. The snide attitude, the questioning, the seeming presumption of guilt that British passport officers show non-EU citizens really is something else. Everytime it makes me regret even going, and certainly doesn't make me want to rush back. But what really scares me more than anything else is that if I am consistently treated like shit travelling on an Australian passport, heaven forbid how they treat people from Pakistan.
Worked Hard, Flew Right
 
cskok8
Posts: 61
Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2017 3:37 am

Re: Put through US Border Secondary Security for being on a RTW ticket

Wed Jul 05, 2017 2:26 pm

RTW every 3 months looks like the routine of a drug courier
 
flymia
Posts: 7109
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2001 6:33 am

Re: Put through US Border Secondary Security for being on a RTW ticket

Wed Jul 05, 2017 2:38 pm

cskok8 wrote:
RTW every 3 months looks like the routine of a drug courier

Exactly. Odd behaviors, even with good reasoning will be questioned. Simple fact of life. Any country does not have to let you in their borders, and any odd travel habits will be looked at Does not matter who you are or why you are doing it.
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
 
ozglobal
Topic Author
Posts: 2594
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2004 7:33 am

Re: Put through US Border Secondary Security for being on a RTW ticket

Fri Aug 25, 2017 8:01 pm

Varsity1 wrote:
ozglobal wrote:
commpilot wrote:
Sounds about right for narrow minded government workers. Odd that I did an rtw from the USA made up of all separate tickets on totally different random airlines aka the super cheap way and no country cared on entry or transit.


Not really. It's only the US that seems to freak over this. Staff just cannot digest the notion of someone 'in-transit' via the US. Your itinerary did not do this.


Not just the USA. In 2015 I flew PHL-LHR, bus connection to LGW-KBP followed by KBP-FRA-PHL.

The board guard agents at LHR didn't believe I was leaving the U.K. They wanted to see evidence of my departure (LGW-KBP) and claimed my boarding pass was photoshopped. "I can't touch your phone, you are required to have paper proof of your departure" blah blah. It was a battle.

Most Europeans are completely naive to how difficult the UK's board process is because they never experience it.


This 'European' knows about it only too well, as, being a French resident for 15 years, but still on an Australian passport, I get a literal third degree from UK Immigration every time I cross their border. They imply they I surely only want to stay on illegally in their misty iles and presumable pick berries in Cornwall for the rest of my natural life...
When all's said and done, there'll be more said than done.
 
ozglobal
Topic Author
Posts: 2594
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2004 7:33 am

Re: Put through US Border Secondary Security for being on a RTW ticket

Fri Aug 25, 2017 8:09 pm

flymia wrote:
cskok8 wrote:
RTW every 3 months looks like the routine of a drug courier

Exactly. Odd behaviors, even with good reasoning will be questioned. Simple fact of life. Any country does not have to let you in their borders, and any odd travel habits will be looked at Does not matter who you are or why you are doing it.


Out of all the hassle US officials and staff caused me over about 3 1/2 years of these trips, it was only on one occasion that the repeated RTW itinerary was even noticed. On all other occasion the 'issue' was presented as my "one way ticket" or "what do you mean, 'in transit in the US'" ?
When all's said and done, there'll be more said than done.
 
c933103
Posts: 3824
Joined: Wed May 18, 2016 7:23 pm

Re: Put through US Border Secondary Security for being on a RTW ticket

Thu Aug 31, 2017 11:00 pm

Have you tried to do this in Canada instead of the US and was the experience similar?
When no other countries around the world is going to militarily stop China and its subordinate fom abusing its citizens within its national boundary, it is unreasonable to expect those abuse can be countered with purely peaceful means.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 26 guests

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos