IFlyVeryLittle
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Is this added security for US-bound passengers?

Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:42 pm

As my screen name implies, Im not nearly the world traveler most of you guys are, so I have a question. On a recent trip home from Geneva to Tampa (via Paris and Atlanta), we were questioned in pretty deep detail while waiting to board an Air France flight in Paris after connecting from Geneva. Though we had passed through passport control on the way to the K gates, we were approached again while queuing to board. Not threatening or intimidating in any way, but pretty serious and to the point (older readers: think Jack Webb on Dragnet). And we were not alone. Most everyone was, and some people were pulled out of line for shoe checks, more questions. At the end, we got a little sticker dot on our passport with the agent's signature. So my question is this: Standard procedure overseas?
 
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B727skyguy
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Re: Is this added security for US-bound passengers?

Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:19 pm

US Customs officers routinely inspect and interrogate passengers at the gate on international flights departing the US as well. On one flight I took, US Customs officers ordered everyone in the jetway to go up against the jetway wall as though we were being arrested. When a US Customs officer with a gun and sounding like a drill sergeant yells, "Everyone up against the wall," people are quick to comply.
 
YYZYYT
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Re: Is this added security for US-bound passengers?

Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:27 pm

B727skyguy wrote:
US Customs officers routinely inspect and interrogate passengers at the gate on international flights departing the US as well. On one flight I took, US Customs officers ordered everyone in the jetway to go up against the jetway wall as though we were being arrested. When a US Customs officer with a gun and sounding like a drill sergeant yells, "Everyone up against the wall," people are quick to comply.


Interesting - I've taken many flights to the US, from Canada (both USCBP pre-cleared and not), the Caribbean, Mexico and Asia... and I've never experienced this. It's always been the usual screening.
 
Flyer732
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Re: Is this added security for US-bound passengers?

Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:28 pm

That's the routine on every international flight to the US. I've been through it hundreds of times!
 
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VS4ever
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Re: Is this added security for US-bound passengers?

Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:34 pm

SOP at AMS, especially if you fly DL, had that happen to me last October, came through regular screening at BHX for my connecting flight from the UK, never was out of security, but had to go through secondary screening in AMS before my flight back to BOS, and everything was gone through, shoes, bag, the whole 9 yards. First time i have experienced that, but apparently it is the norm for them. You have to go through the screening before they will even give you a gate number for your flight. all the departure boards are permanently set to D1, you get a ticket confirming your final gate number once you have gone through the process.
Now that might have changed in 12 months, but that was my experience almost exactly a year ago today.
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LAXffDUB
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Re: Is this added security for US-bound passengers?

Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:36 pm

I can't say it's SOP, but I've routinely encountered this "added layer of security" whenever I've been flying back to the US from the EU. It's happened to me in FCO, MXP, ZRH, AMS, MAN and DUB. Some agents can be very cordial and friendly; others will interrogate with great zeal and gusto. I've heard people grumble about their experiences in TLV with this type of screening; they understand the need for it but find it very stressful.
 
ME720
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Re: Is this added security for US-bound passengers?

Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:53 pm

THat s horrible! Makes one think twice before visiting the US.
 
arcticcruiser
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Re: Is this added security for US-bound passengers?

Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:20 pm

This is being implemented AFAIK for all flights to US. Total crap. I may fly there for a living, but I rarely spend vactions there.
 
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ClipperYankee
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Re: Is this added security for US-bound passengers?

Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:23 pm

I've had the questioning departing to the U.S. from ARN, OSL, CDG, GIG and EZE but not from FRA, and that's two or three times flying out of that airport. The questioning has been polite, not too invasive and not very long. I'd imagine they are looking for "tells" that you might be telling lies. However, I've never once seen anyone asked upon departing from three or four different terminals at JFK.
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XAM2175
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Re: Is this added security for US-bound passengers?

Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:34 pm

YYZYYT wrote:
B727skyguy wrote:
US Customs officers routinely inspect and interrogate passengers at the gate on international flights departing the US as well.

Interesting - I've taken many flights to the US, from Canada (both USCBP pre-cleared and not), the Caribbean, Mexico and Asia... and I've never experienced this. It's always been the usual screening.


Additional interviews and re-screenings are reasonably common on flights to the US, but they will only be conducted by US Government officers on inbound flights when they're at pre-clearance stations.
 
JPhoto
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Re: Is this added security for US-bound passengers?

Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:34 pm

I had it every time departing AMS on DL, but not when flying KL. So I thought that it was done only when flying on a US airline, until I departed from CPH on SK last month where they questioned me. By now I know all their questions since they're always the same!
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spinkid
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Re: Is this added security for US-bound passengers?

Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:50 pm

Its definitely not standard one every flight to the U.S.

I've flown back to my home country of the U.S. with just standard screening

but I've also seen enhanced screening for everyone........................enhanced for selected few...........................or nothing at all.

I've also been questioned on the jetway returning from Puerto Rico

and most recently while flying DY SWF-EDI there were customs officers questioning people while boarding.

I was also questioned heavily on entry to the UK from Norway last year, so for those of you commenting that only the U.S. does this and you will think twice about vacationing here, you should add the UK to that list
 
MartijnNL
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Re: Is this added security for US-bound passengers?

Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:53 pm

That's why I prefer to fly KLM from Amsterdam or Lufthansa from Frankfurt to the United States: no questions asked. At least not in the last five years.
 
xxcr
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Re: Is this added security for US-bound passengers?

Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:03 pm

This is normal i think for all International flights now. I just flew back from ICN-SFO yesterday, and i was asked security questions and check-in, immigration and again at the gate before i boarded. They just want to see how you respond and to see if you seem nervous or not when asked certain questions.
 
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TWA772LR
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Re: Is this added security for US-bound passengers?

Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:09 pm

Ive been questioned in AMS and NRT (maybe elsewhere but these are the only ones I remember) while boarding. In NRT it was the standard "have you packed your own bag" questions and the like by a UA rep, I think AMS was the same but with some kind of Dutch government agent if i remember correctly. In both cases everyone on the plane was questioned.

The only time it was more invasive than simple questions when flying to the US was when I flew CDG-IAH. While everyone boarding the plane, we were pat down by French police because it was the day after the underwear bomber.
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MartijnNL
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Re: Is this added security for US-bound passengers?

Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:23 pm

B727skyguy wrote:
(...) On one flight I took, US Customs officers ordered everyone in the jetway to go up against the jetway wall as though we were being arrested. When a US Customs officer with a gun and sounding like a drill sergeant yells, "Everyone up against the wall," people are quick to comply.

That sounds terrible.
 
skipness1E
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Re: Is this added security for US-bound passengers?

Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:24 pm

Some airlines employ G4S to question everyone checking in and put a sticker on your passport to say so, had this at UA at LHR and DI at LGW this year, it’s all just theatre for the most part, like SSSS.
 
MartijnNL
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Re: Is this added security for US-bound passengers?

Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:34 pm

xxcr wrote:
This is normal i think for all International flights now.

I don't think so.

xxcr wrote:
I just flew back from ICN-SFO yesterday, and i was asked security questions and check-in, immigration and again at the gate before i boarded.

Recently I travelled from Amsterdam to San Francisco on KLM. No security questions asked. Not at check in, not at border control and not at the gate.

xxcr wrote:
They just want to see how you respond and to see if you seem nervous or not when asked certain questions.

Nobody was interested in me. And this wasn't the first time either. At least my last four flights to the United States were like this. Only when I show up at the U.S. immigration desk people start asking questions.
 
YYZYYT
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Re: Is this added security for US-bound passengers?

Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:45 pm

It certainly seems that many are being given this heightened security, but I've flown to the US 10 x over the last 5 years, and have never been asked anything more than "what hotel are you staying at?"

Since its random, it isn't about whether I meet some profile that they are looking for. Is this new?

Or is it targeting flights from the EU, or US carriers? Has anyone ever experienced this on a flight from Canada or a USCBP pre-clearance airport (admittedly, the majority of my flying to the US is from YYZ)?
 
ConnectAir
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Re: Is this added security for US-bound passengers?

Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:11 pm

YYZYYT wrote:
Or is it targeting flights from the EU, or US carriers? Has anyone ever experienced this on a flight from Canada or a USCBP pre-clearance airport (admittedly, the majority of my flying to the US is from YYZ)?


I flew from YYT to BOS on PD back in August and got no security questions beyond the standard ''did you pack your bags yourself" from the check in agent. I also flew back to BOS from BDA on DL and did not have to go through any additional interviews beyond those provided by CBP at the preclearance line.

Additionally, of my 5 trips to Europe/the Middle East since 2013 I have received additional security three times with all occasions being in 2013-2014 (one was LX at ZRH and consisted of a very quick and painless interview, one was DL at AMS back when they did full security at the gates, and one was a liquids check on LY at TLV).
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Mortyman
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Re: Is this added security for US-bound passengers?

Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:48 pm

This has happend to me once at AMS, before entering the gate / boarding area for a trip to New York. It was either a KL or DL flight.
 
csavel
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Re: Is this added security for US-bound passengers?

Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:27 pm

I think there are two separate issues.

The enhanced screening where you get screened twice, once normally and then once at the gate seems par for the course now. Happened on almost every int'l flight I've been on. In JNB I got to the gate early and was sleeping when they asked everyone to leave and then go through security before entering the gate area again. PITA.

The second one is the personal interview. I recall about two years ago a kerfuffle (prob many threads on this site) about Israeli-style security where everyone flying to the US would be questioned to gauge nervousness. problem is, it is often gate agents at check-in who do this - not Israeli security staff! I've only gone through it twice, once in Haiti and once in Spain. It was ridiculous and you could tell in both instances the people asking me the questions felt it was ridiculous too. I did end up having nice conversations about Spanish food and about Haitian culture though! That is more hit and miss and wonder if that is going to go away soon.
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B727skyguy
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Re: Is this added security for US-bound passengers?

Tue Oct 16, 2018 2:29 am

YYZYYT wrote:
Interesting - I've taken many flights to the US, from Canada (both USCBP pre-cleared and not), the Caribbean, Mexico and Asia... and I've never experienced this. It's always been the usual screening.

I'm referring to trans-Atlantic flights departing from the United States. US Customs officers ordering all of the passengers up against the wall in the jetway happened only once. However, I've seen US Customs officers interrogating and inspecting departing passengers about 50% of the time in my international travels.
 
aklrno
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Re: Is this added security for US-bound passengers?

Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:25 am

On my flight from AKL to LAX two weeks ago all passengers were interviewed briefly by a hired security firm before going to the boarding lounge. I've never seen this before at AKL. It was not quite as intensive as Israeli government security at TLV, but a close second. Mostly questions about your checked bags, carry on bags and anything you may be carrying for others. In the past I've had to answer questions like this at check-in kiosks, but at AKL they wanted to see your reactions in person.
 
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LTU932
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Re: Is this added security for US-bound passengers?

Tue Oct 16, 2018 8:45 am

I should really stop reading these threads, they make me more nervous to fly to the US (and it's because of what and how people say things in these threads that I get nervous) and I want to eventually visit the country and not just stay in transit for a connection.

I've had these security interviews twice, once out of LHR waiting for my flight to DFW in 2014 (with additional screening during boarding due to the issue with the laptops), and once out of HAM before checking in for my flight to EWR and onward to SJO in 2015. Out of SJO, I have yet to see any security interview, though I wouldn't rule out that they may happen.
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IAHWorldflyer
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Re: Is this added security for US-bound passengers?

Tue Oct 16, 2018 6:02 pm

So 20+ replies and no one here has linked to any specific information.
In October of 2017, the United States TSA under directions from the Trump Administration imposed additional security screening for all US inbound flights. Here's a Reuters article from the time that includes reactions from a variety of foreign carriers.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa- ... SKBN1CT2GE

To me it seems that carriers handle this in different ways. I agree with others that I've rarely been asked secondary questions using LH, but always get it from third party security firms when flying UA. Some Latin American carriers have now stopped letting me do online checkin, instead having to actually see an agent to get a boarding pass, where I am asked the standard questions. This is all mostly security theater in my opinion, as third party concerns do not have the training that government agents do, i.e. Israel.
 
aklrno
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Re: Is this added security for US-bound passengers?

Wed Oct 17, 2018 6:24 am

LTU932 wrote:
I should really stop reading these threads, they make me more nervous to fly to the US (and it's because of what and how people say things in these threads that I get nervous) and I want to eventually visit the country and not just stay in transit for a connection.

I've had these security interviews twice, once out of LHR waiting for my flight to DFW in 2014 (with additional screening during boarding due to the issue with the laptops), and once out of HAM before checking in for my flight to EWR and onward to SJO in 2015. Out of SJO, I have yet to see any security interview, though I wouldn't rule out that they may happen.

It's not all that bad. No personal questions, no "interrogation", just a check of how your checked and unchecked bags have been packed and handled. In Israel, they asked me why I was in Israel, who and where I visited, who I traveled with and more. THAT is intrusive. Maybe the US agents are looking for nervous passengers. I wasn't, so no problems. The Israelis seem to be intending to make you nervous. Considering I had been standing in line for nearly an hour and was in danger of missing my flight did make me nervous. The guy who interviewed me stared at me like he wanted to arrest me for something.

The biggest annoyance to me at AKL was that I had just one more queue to stand in. Had I been in economy I would have waited to check in, waited for exit passport control, waited for terminal security, waited for USA security, and then waited to board. Because I was in Business class the USA security line was the only real wait, the others were trivial. I really pitied the parents (probably destined for economy) of small children who were getting very tired.

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