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Old 11.06.2021, 15:20
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SWISS security agents

I was confronted with a really awkward situation.

I have flown from a third world country back to Switzerland and after SWISS counter in the airport, there were two men in SWISS uniform and they were saying that they are SWISS security agents.

They started asking if I had a visa to Switzerland, what I am doing there and then it got a bit provocative and annoying asking me if I am married to a Swiss lady (in a demeaning) and where do I work.

I have made a complain by phone and email but unfortunately all in vain, the maximum I got was that these were federal police doing risk assessment and border checks.

Has anyone been in such a situation before? are these guys even allowed to do such things? What is their authority? can they deny people from boarding?
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Old 11.06.2021, 15:27
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Re: SWISS security agents

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I was confronted with a really awkward situation.

I have flown from a third world country back to Switzerland and after SWISS counter in the airport, there were two men in SWISS uniform and they were saying that they are SWISS security agents.

They started asking if I had a visa to Switzerland, what I am doing there and then it got a bit provocative and annoying asking me if I am married to a Swiss lady (in a demeaning) and where do I work.

I have made a complain by phone and email but unfortunately all in vain, the maximum I got was that these were federal police doing risk assessment and border checks.

Has anyone been in such a situation before? are these guys even allowed to do such things? What is their authority? can they deny people from boarding?

If it was in the country of departure and they were representing SWISS, they're allowed as airlines get big fines for flying people without correct documentation. Yes, the airline can deny you from boarding.

I know flying is stressful at times and these incidents don't help, maybe you saw their attitude as a bit off, but these checks will be made and being on the receiving end of extra checks is never fun.
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Old 11.06.2021, 16:00
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Re: SWISS security agents

Ha - you always get these security people asking questions when you fly to the US. A few weeks ago they were on the jet bridge before boarding - asked me to "show them what a stranger gave me to take on the plane" - apparently trying to trick me into saying - oh sure, this suitcase bomb and a kilo of cocaine!

I once had them asking me, oh you live in zurich. What did you do this weekend? Oh you saw a movie, what movie was it? Who was in it...

not sure what they are trying to find out - but just answer and move along.
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Old 11.06.2021, 16:08
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Re: SWISS security agents

When dealing with airport security, just go into zombie mode. Do what you're told, answer the questions, and it won't be a problem. Certainly getting arsy won't get you anywhere. They have all the power. You have none.
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Old 11.06.2021, 16:14
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Re: SWISS security agents

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are these guys even allowed to do such things? What is their authority? can they deny people from boarding?
Yes... suck it up!
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Old 11.06.2021, 16:36
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Re: SWISS security agents

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If it was in the country of departure and they were representing SWISS, they're allowed as airlines get big fines for flying people without correct documentation. Yes, the airline can deny you from boarding.
If an airline transports a person from Country A to Country B, it is the airline's responsibility to check that the person is legally allowed to enter Country B.

The airline's risk does not end just by having flown the passenger from A to B. If it turns out that Country B won't admit the person, the first checks are whether the airline properly fulfilled their duty to check that the passenger's documentation was all in order for entering Country B. If the airline failed to do so, then the airline will have to cover the costs of transporting the passenger back to Country A.

If, however, by the time the passenger is returned to County A, the passenger is no longer eligible to enter Country A, this backwards-and-forwardsing can end up a very costly exercise.

That is one of the reasons why we are asked to show both ticket and passport at the check-in and then, depending on the airport and airline, again at security controls and sometimes again at the gate.
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Old 11.06.2021, 16:39
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Re: SWISS security agents

Anecdotally:
I knew someone who booked a one-way ticket from his home County A to Country B which required people with Country-A-citizenship to show a valid return ticket to enter, but the airline did not check this, and let him fly. He was not allowed to enter Country B, and was immediately deported, at the airline's cost.

Unfortunately, in his disappointment and built on prior mental health issues, he had a total breakdown in the plane, and destroyed his documentation, without realising the consequences for himself. As a result, when the airline returned him to his home country, he could not prove his identity and nationality, and was not admitted there, either.

There was a lot of trouble and a lot of costs: putting him up in the airport security premises, getting in a psychiatrist, negotiating with the authorities until his father could be found (living in Country C), flying in said father from Country C to Country A and accommodating him, helping him to prove his son's identity and to apply for new documents with express surcharges, etc.

All of those costs had to be covered by the airline, because it was deemed that the original fault - letting the young man fly when he was clearly in breech of the known entry requirements of Country B - was failure of the airline security checks.
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Old 11.06.2021, 18:30
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Re: SWISS security agents

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They started asking if I had a visa to Switzerland
To get the boarding pass you need to show the docs at the counter. If you got the boarding pass, it means the passport/permit was already in order. You may have just joked to them that if they think is typical from Swiss to hire idiots.

Now an anecdote. Due to my stupid sense of humor I was once sent to an extra check at the airport with the military. The fun thing is that the soldiers overheard my joke to the employee of the airline. When I got to the supposedly extra humiliating check, they just said "ha, you made him mad, that uptight ***hole. you know, we have to do our job, we'll just open your suitcase but don't worry".

So, that's the fun lesson. Idiots make enemies everywhere, don't hesitate to return a verbal jab or two.
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Old 11.06.2021, 18:40
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Re: SWISS security agents

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Anecdotally:
I knew someone who booked a one-way ticket from his home County A to Country B which required people with Country-A-citizenship to show a valid return ticket to enter, but the airline did not check this, and let him fly. He was not allowed to enter Country B, and was immediately deported, at the airline's cost.

Unfortunately, in his disappointment and built on prior mental health issues, he had a total breakdown in the plane, and destroyed his documentation, without realising the consequences for himself. As a result, when the airline returned him to his home country, he could not prove his identity and nationality, and was not admitted there, either.

There was a lot of trouble and a lot of costs: putting him up in the airport security premises, getting in a psychiatrist, negotiating with the authorities until his father could be found (living in Country C), flying in said father from Country C to Country A and accommodating him, helping him to prove his son's identity and to apply for new documents with express surcharges, etc.

All of those costs had to be covered by the airline, because it was deemed that the original fault - letting the young man fly when he was clearly in breech of the known entry requirements of Country B - was failure of the airline security checks.
Surely, upon realizing he had no return flight and that he was already in country B, the airline could have sold him a ticket for a return flight on the spot there and then and the young man could have moved on and entered country B? Not very difficult in an age where you can book a flight on your phone.

But rather than do that they had to fly him back home (without a ticket) plus all the follow-on costs. Even if they didn't foresee he was going to destroy his documents, what did they think they were achieving?
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Old 11.06.2021, 19:54
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Re: SWISS security agents

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Surely, upon realizing he had no return flight and that he was already in country B, the airline could have sold him a ticket for a return flight on the spot there and then and the young man could have moved on and entered country B? Not very difficult in an age where you can book a flight on your phone.

But rather than do that they had to fly him back home (without a ticket) plus all the follow-on costs. Even if they didn't foresee he was going to destroy his documents, what did they think they were achieving?
Ah, yes, perhaps buying a return ticket on the spot might have been an option, but the story took place before flights could be booked on phones. Even so, I'm not sure that it would have been possible for him to enter Country B.

You see, even if he had had the money to do so, and even if it had been possible to buy a return ticket, manually, in the transit zone of the airport of Country B, which it may have been back then (I don't know), the immigration authorities of Country B simply refused him entry. Their reasoning was that he hadn't fulfilled their requirements upon boarding the plane to leave Country A, and no-one who was trying to gain entrance to the country, illegally, in the first place, would be welcome and no such persons would be granted admission to the country.

Although it was the young man who had failed to find out about and fulfil Country B's requirements, the fault was deemed to be that of the airline. They were remiss in having allowed him to embark at all, in Country A, when they should have known better. They did not check that he had assembled the known, standard requisite papers (which included a return ticket) for Country B.

That omission of the airline made it the airline's responsibility to get him out of transit in Country B, at their own expense. They had no option in this. The whole chain of subsequent events was deemed to have had its catalyst in the airline's omission, which is why they had to bear all the resultant costs.

Put the other way round, although the young man was clueless and foolish, the whole matter would never have gotten off the ground had the airline's ground staff in Country A just checked properly: "Oh, where's your return ticket? None? Then sorry, you can't fly with us to County B." Prevention done.
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Old 11.06.2021, 21:57
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Re: SWISS security agents

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I have flown from a third world country back to Switzerland and after SWISS counter in the airport, there were two men in SWISS uniform and they were saying that they are SWISS security agents.
These people were likely not even SWISS employees, but a part of an airport security team (or even a local police), which SWISS had to hire to fulfill the IATA and the local security requirements. I had the same and worse experiences flying from US internationally almost every time.
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