PSAatSAN4Ever
Topic Author
Posts: 274
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:38 pm

XXX-USA International Flight Forced To Divert - Customs Procedures?

Fri Nov 30, 2018 9:05 pm

In watching the progress of Lufthansa flight 466 FRA-SAN yesterday, I watched as it diverted to LAS, where, as the law requires, all passengers went through customs there, and re-boarded the plane to finish their journey to San Diego. Given how quick this process was expedited, I would like to be more informed of what happens in these cases, so here are some questions with regards to a diversion of an international flight to the United States to an airport in the United States:

* Checked luggage and cargo: does all this have to be removed from the airplane? If so, who is going to do this at an airport such as LAS where Lufthansa doesn't have regularly schedule flights?

* Where do passengers on this international flight wait after they have cleared customs? Obviously it would be a waste of time to re-screen every single person if they haven't left the secured area, but where do they wait in the meantime?

* If a person was flying FRA-SAN-LAS (I'm making this up, of course) and the flight diverted to LAS, would they able to cancel the rest of their journey? Or do they need to finish all segments? How about "checked bags" versus "cabin bags only" situations?

* How is a flight "dispatched" from the diversion airport? If there's no Lufthansa personnel at LAS, how does that flight get certified to depart?

Thank you in advance for your responses - and happy flying!!
 
Cubsrule
Posts: 13315
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 12:13 pm

Re: XXX-USA International Flight Forced To Divert - Customs Procedures?

Fri Nov 30, 2018 9:08 pm

There's no requirement that the flight clear customs at the diversion point. The vast majority of longhaul flights that go to places like MKE or GRR when ORD has weather do not, for instance.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
as739x
Posts: 5129
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2003 7:23 am

Re: XXX-USA International Flight Forced To Divert - Customs Procedures?

Fri Nov 30, 2018 9:19 pm

Checked bags would not need to be removed if the flight was continuing. If a passenger decided to stay, it would be up to the crew and/or the company to have the bag removed. The passenger has already demonstrated intent to fly.

In the US I do not believe there are any airports where you clear Customs, but stay in a sterile area, so the need would be there to re-screen back through a TSA checkpoint.

As for the last question, most airports will have a contract ramp service that can handle the aircraft if its not a station the airline or a partner airline services. In some cases, a partner airline would be contacted to assist and in the LH case probably has a plan for a LAS diversion for SAN/LAX flights. In the past at a previous airline, we had agreements to handle diversions of an airline that served a different airport in the Bay Area.
"Some pilots avoid storm cells and some play connect the dots!"
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 1726
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: XXX-USA International Flight Forced To Divert - Customs Procedures?

Fri Nov 30, 2018 9:31 pm

Dispatch releases are an American thing, LH may not require a dispacher’s release, just the crew’s. Of course, coordinated thru their OC so they know what’s happening.

They could have received a “permit to proceed” to SAN, not often given but might have been. Then, everything and everyone stays on board, no CIQ until SAN.

I’m not sure if LH has authority or OpsSpecs thru their Part 129 certificate to drop pax/cargo in LAS. I diverted to Nadi once on QF and explicitly the few Fiji pax could not leave as QF did not have US-Fiji authority.

GF
 
FGITD
Posts: 341
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 1:44 pm

Re: XXX-USA International Flight Forced To Divert - Customs Procedures?

Fri Nov 30, 2018 9:54 pm

Cubsrule wrote:
There's no requirement that the flight clear customs at the diversion point. The vast majority of longhaul flights that go to places like MKE or GRR when ORD has weather do not, for instance.



This is accurate.

Most vDiverted inbound flights don't have to clear customs. Rather, the passengers and crew sit on the plane and wait, then get a permit to proceed. Usually limited airport staff are allowed to interact with them, as the aircraft is kept "sterile"


Dispatch isn't too complicated. Partner airline or ground handler does it, and for many airlines, it usually consists of a new flight plan, updated payload for fueling purposes, and be the on way. A "gas'n'go"
 
LupineChemist
Posts: 757
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2015 9:03 am

Re: XXX-USA International Flight Forced To Divert - Customs Procedures?

Fri Nov 30, 2018 11:13 pm

FGITD wrote:
Cubsrule wrote:
There's no requirement that the flight clear customs at the diversion point. The vast majority of longhaul flights that go to places like MKE or GRR when ORD has weather do not, for instance.



This is accurate.

Most vDiverted inbound flights don't have to clear customs. Rather, the passengers and crew sit on the plane and wait, then get a permit to proceed. Usually limited airport staff are allowed to interact with them, as the aircraft is kept "sterile"


Dispatch isn't too complicated. Partner airline or ground handler does it, and for many airlines, it usually consists of a new flight plan, updated payload for fueling purposes, and be the on way. A "gas'n'go"


What happens in cases where there is a mechanical issue and a diversion to an airport with no CBP presence and can't take off again? Just have to sit and wait until some agents make the drive?
 
Gemuser
Posts: 4845
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2003 12:07 pm

Re: XXX-USA International Flight Forced To Divert - Customs Procedures?

Fri Nov 30, 2018 11:56 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
I diverted to Nadi once on QF and explicitly the few Fiji pax could not leave as QF did not have US-Fiji authority. GF


Some how I doubt that route authority was the real reason as QF has had route authority US - Fiji since 1949, at least, unless it has change this century and I didn't notice! [Possible I suppose, we do slow down as we get old and PIM stopped publication].

Gemuser
 
FGITD
Posts: 341
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 1:44 pm

Re: XXX-USA International Flight Forced To Divert - Customs Procedures?

Sat Dec 01, 2018 2:05 am

LupineChemist wrote:
FGITD wrote:
Cubsrule wrote:
There's no requirement that the flight clear customs at the diversion point. The vast majority of longhaul flights that go to places like MKE or GRR when ORD has weather do not, for instance.



This is accurate.

Most vDiverted inbound flights don't have to clear customs. Rather, the passengers and crew sit on the plane and wait, then get a permit to proceed. Usually limited airport staff are allowed to interact with them, as the aircraft is kept "sterile"


Dispatch isn't too complicated. Partner airline or ground handler does it, and for many airlines, it usually consists of a new flight plan, updated payload for fueling purposes, and be the on way. A "gas'n'go"


What happens in cases where there is a mechanical issue and a diversion to an airport with no CBP presence and can't take off again? Just have to sit and wait until some agents make the drive?



As far as I know, yes. Though I'd imagine in most situation, the airlines control center will try their best to get them to an airport with the appropriate authorities.

I have heard of fun situations where the pax have been corralled into a hotel, or isolated section of the terminal while they wait.

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