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Old 03.02.2018, 13:00
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Questions at the passport check near the gate when flying to USA

Hi,

Usually when I fly to USA, there is a person in front of the gate looking at my passport and stamping the boarding pass.
Today that person started asking the kind of questions the US border control officer would be asking : what's the reason for you flying to USA, how long will you stay there.
And then he gave my passport to another lady, who kept asking questions, such as where do you live in Zurich and what is your postcode.
Has it happened to you?
Is that a new thing?
Do they have right to do that?
And it's annoying to answer all those questions when I'm surrounded by hundreds of people waiting for boarding.
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Old 03.02.2018, 13:05
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Re: Questions at the passport check near the gate when flying to USA

It seems a roll of the dice.

I travel frequently to the US, sometimes I am asked extra questions, sometimes not. Sometimes there is even yet another document check on boarding.

As for privacy concerns, rights, etc:

Bottom line - I need to get on that plane. So I answer all questions with a smile and wish the person asking a good day. Sure it's a pain, but whatchagonnado? I'm a good little sheeple - but at least I get where I need to go.

(I do my civil rights advocacy on the ground. )
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Old 03.02.2018, 13:20
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Re: Questions at the passport check near the gate when flying to USA

I experienced the same thing when I flew to the US in December. New security measures that started late last year:

http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/...-a8020266.html
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Old 03.02.2018, 13:49
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Re: Questions at the passport check near the gate when flying to USA

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Hi,

Usually when I fly to USA, there is a person in front of the gate looking at my passport and stamping the boarding pass.
Today that person started asking the kind of questions the US border control officer would be asking : what's the reason for you flying to USA, how long will you stay there.
And then he gave my passport to another lady, who kept asking questions, such as where do you live in Zurich and what is your postcode.
Has it happened to you?
Is that a new thing?
Do they have right to do that?
And it's annoying to answer all those questions when I'm surrounded by hundreds of people waiting for boarding.
As you can still post, I guess you were arrested??
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Old 03.02.2018, 14:29
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Re: Questions at the passport check near the gate when flying to USA

This is not a new practice. I travel to USA frequently, and from various countries. It is just luck. Sometimes you are questioned extensively pre-checkin or pre-boarding. The airlines are punished if they bring people to the USA that will be rejected at the border, so they are obligated to do some checks. Some staff take it more seriously than others.
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Old 03.02.2018, 14:49
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Re: Questions at the passport check near the gate when flying to USA

I flew United to the US for the first time in November and I had a very odd exchange with the United Agent at check in at Zurich Airport. She asked me where I lived in Zurich; how long I would be in the US; what my husband did for a living; what is my occupation in Zurich and when I told her I did not work, she countered with, "Then what do you do with your time?"

I told her I was very good at wasting time and then asked her how she spent her spare time?! Finally, her manager stepped in and told me she was in "training" and that these questions were part of their new security screening. I found the process really intrusive and unnecessary though.

Then on my way back with United, yet again, this time at the gate in Philadelphia, I was interrogated. Doesn't make me want to fly United again anytime soon
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Old 03.02.2018, 15:05
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Re: Questions at the passport check near the gate when flying to USA

Sometimes you get questioned before you reach the check-in counter, and then a second time before you get to the gate area, a third time just before you board (all by the same person which may or may not remember you), and if unlucky and selected you get a pat down plus extra questions by another person. Never had the last extra interview, but my GF was once selected (including pat down in a private booth) and they were actually very kind and even apologizing. If you are not truly randomly selected but by gut feeling your treatment and experience might be different.
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Old 03.02.2018, 15:06
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Re: Questions at the passport check near the gate when flying to USA

Most of the time they're not actually interested in what your answers are, but how you answer them. If you're hesitant, confused and nervous it might mean you have something to hide.
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Old 03.02.2018, 15:33
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Re: Questions at the passport check near the gate when flying to USA

I got the same treatment at Zurich Airport for a flight to JFK, everything was going well until she asked to see my Swiss Permit. I said I didn't have it and she replied that I couldn't travel then. Deep breath.. I explained that nowhere does it say that I need a Swiss residence permit to enter the USA, however next time I will surely bring it <sweet smile>.

She gave me a long, beady stare and then barked 'Next'
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Old 03.02.2018, 15:39
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Re: Questions at the passport check near the gate when flying to USA

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Most of the time they're not actually interested in what your answers are, but how you answer them. If you're hesitant, confused and nervous it might mean you have something to hide.
^This. I recall being pretty annoyed at arrival in the U.S. when the immigration officer asked me what the purpose of my visit was. I wanted to yell at him that as a citizen I don't need any reason to come to the U.S., but instead I told him I'm visiting family.

@Castro you rebel not carrying your permit.
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Old 03.02.2018, 18:52
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Re: Questions at the passport check near the gate when flying to USA

That interrogation nonsense started briefly after the World Trade Center thing a.k.a. 9/11 and was kept up for many years. Since, back then, the questions were always exactly the same, I sometimes made fun of the whole game by answering the questions before they were even asked.

"Good morning sir, I have to ask you a few questions."

"Yes I know. Ok, I packed my suitcase last night at my home in XXX, Switzerland, left it next to my bed all night and kept it next to me all the time on the trains to the airport and while changing trains. On my way to the airport I wasn't given any items to take aboard by people I don't know, not even by people I know. The purpose of my visit to the USA is ....., I will be staying at the home of my Significant Other, a US citizen and resident, and my flight back to Switzerland will be on Sunday, yy/zz/tttt, as you can see on my ticket."

Their faces: priceless.

Then the whole farce petered out for a few years and has come back relatively recently, maybe ordered by Twitter. Meanwhile the pattern of questions has been changing a lot, but, of course, it's all about covering their asses.
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Old 03.02.2018, 19:09
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Re: Questions at the passport check near the gate when flying to USA

I ALWAYS get the full special treatment when I travel for business to USA, but they insist itís random.

I think itís fine to be frisked from the boarding side but when they interrogate you at the other end after 9 hours of flying thatís when it drives me crazy especially when my family travels with me.

I fill in the ESTA in advance and still they ask me the same questions. It would be better if they had a service where one voluntarily goes to the US embassy and get them to ask me as many questions as possible in advance so that I donít get frisked RANDOMLY every time I travel to USA?

For that reason it puts me off travelling to USA other than business trip.
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Old 03.02.2018, 19:13
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Re: Questions at the passport check near the gate when flying to USA

I am just curious but how many were interrogated when flying a US airline versus a foreign one? I had to fly back 3x last year and the only time I was interrogated was when I flew United (no issues at all with Swiss Air or Lufthansa).

I wonder if this is a policy required of US Airlines...
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Old 03.02.2018, 19:41
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Re: Questions at the passport check near the gate when flying to USA

Awwww, the good old times. Flew into New York 30 years ago, this huge guy with an other attribute which I'm not allowed to mention anymore these days, asked me where I would stay in New York. I said with a friend but the address was in the suitcase - which waited for me AFTER customs.
It turned into a very friendly "who is more stubborn" game as I was trying to being very correct. LOL.

After a little banter he said to me: "You will be staying at the Hilton, M'am" and wrote that down on my card. All the other custom's employees around grinned by then. I still remember it today, it was fun and all very relaxed actually.
Guess those days are over
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Old 03.02.2018, 19:48
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Re: Questions at the passport check near the gate when flying to USA

After been studied sixteen ways to Sunday, inside leg measurements, IQ, blood glucose level, etc and then on the other side you are faced with an official with a very large gun.

WTF with the gun? Is that just to intimate you?
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Old 03.02.2018, 20:02
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Re: Questions at the passport check near the gate when flying to USA

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...WTF with the gun? Is that just to intimate you?
Geez, I hope not.
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Old 03.02.2018, 20:22
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Re: Questions at the passport check near the gate when flying to USA

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After been studied sixteen ways to Sunday, inside leg measurements, IQ, blood glucose level, etc and then on the other side you are faced with an official with a very large gun.

WTF with the gun? Is that just to intimate you?
You turned out to be too darn' healthy for the US. You could outlive the visa.
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Old 03.02.2018, 21:06
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Re: Questions at the passport check near the gate when flying to USA

damn predictive text.
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Old 04.02.2018, 01:32
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Re: Questions at the passport check near the gate when flying to USA

Thank you all very much for sharing.

I also was selected a couple of times for the pat down procedure, but never encountered questioning before.
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Old 04.02.2018, 07:05
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Re: Questions at the passport check near the gate when flying to USA

As regular as clockwork I got the dreaded "XXX" on my ticket, the one that gets you the extra-special patdown. Never failed.
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