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US Customs and Border Protection humour

RooFlyer

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I travel Calgary to USA reasonably frequently, so do US Customs and [-]Boarder[/-] Border Protection pre-clearance in Calgary. Its usually a fairly painless procedure and has been less painful again by the sense of humour of some of the immigration people.

In a previous trip report I noted how one guy imitated my accent (in a friendly manner).

Last week, when I went through, this occurred:

Him: OK, Four fingers on the green screen.

Me: < 4 fingers on the scanner)>

Him: OK, now your forehead.

Me: Pardon?

Him: Forehead - on the scanner.

Me: <Confused look>

Him: <Laughter> ... just kidd'n.


Anyone else getting their Tonight Show routine?
 
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Mattg

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I've had a mixed bag. Had a very serious officer in ORD a while back who didn't appreciate me asking "how are you?". Have also had rather painless experiences in YUL and MIA.
 

chelzmalee

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I've had a mixed bag. Had a very serious officer in ORD a while back who didn't appreciate me asking "how are you?". Have also had rather painless experiences in YUL and MIA.
I've had nice people at LAX, a horror at SFO and "meh" at JFK, but none I would ever think could have a joke. Good to see there IS a sense of humour out there. :)
 

kevrosmith

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I've had a mixed bag. Had a very serious officer in ORD a while back who didn't appreciate me asking "how are you?". Have also had rather painless experiences in YUL and MIA.
When arriving into LOTFAP I keep the rule "don't speak unless you're spoken to" in mind. Border control is not the place I want to make chit-chat or have it take any longer than absolutely required. Anything additional I say only provides them an opportunity to make the process take longer, in either a positive or potentially negative manner.
 

PLANT

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Said before Niagara falls... Going to America on bridge swat team... They did laugh when I answered Canada to "where did you come from".... Back to Canada female who after I said G'day just said keep walking.... Then got out of booth and held the door to toll booth while I took a photo!!!
Have been questioned coming in to America at Boston airport... But after I rattled off my trip to date and plans was told.... Wow lucky you..
. most people in America have never visited those places.
 

Hvr

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i have found the ones operating at Canadian ports to be friendlier
Agree, they also appreciate Australian humour.


Another thought, why would Customs protect boarders rather than borders? ;)
 

exceladdict

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After being asked "how much money are you carrying", I was required to explain that a "few hundred dollars" is in fact "three hundred dollars".

I was nervous though, no sleep on QF93 didn't help, of course I had nothing to hide but on the Visa Waivers, there's no right of appeal.

I'm sure they can sense nervousness!
 

JohnM

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I had a classic at MIA a couple of years ago. I'd been to SXM and had to come back to MIA to turn around to go back out to PLS.

Agent asks me what I, travelling by myself, was going to be doing out there - playing golf? - that sort of thing. Answered: "No - just doing my own thing.", type of stuff.

Agent was very friendly and relaxed, so all was sweet, but obviously just didn't get it that someone can do their own thing solo and says to me, gormless as anything: "Don't you have any friends?" :rolleyes::).

Dang - just couldn't think fast enough to retort: "No, sweetie, but could you be my friend?" (OK, I would have left out the 'sweetie' - but you get the drift of the opportunity missed that's played on my mind ever since! :mrgreen:.)

Only in LOTFAP :rolleyes:.

So, solo traveller RF, be prepared at MIA ;):).
 

Limewood

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Years ago flying on a 707 on way to LA it stopped in HNL to clear immigration, as my Qantas carry bag was being checked in customs a noise emitted from it, stand back stand back they all yelled, carefully the female officer opened the zipper slowly to find a wind up penis with little web feet! inside (4cm tall), an item I used for a joke (especially in restaurant sugar bowls!), apparently it still had some winding left in it, once shaken off it went.


First time I’ve ever seen customs officers laugh so much, I offered it too her but with a big smile she declined.
 

bass_ke

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I've had some great chat's with folk in both Vancouver Pre Clearance and the Sumas Checkpoint.

They love Australian Military and Law Enforcement insignia over there!
 

Katie

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I declared food on my customs form for LAX arrival about 10 days ago. After going through the automated machine, and queuing up for the stamp, the customs guy asked me about my food.
Him: "Do you have Tim Tams?"
Me: "Yes"
Him: "Do you have Cadbury's?"
Me: "Yes"
Him: "Do you have vegemite?"
Me: "Yes" (though normally it would be a no, but two friends asked me to bring some)

I've had a similar experience once at LAX with the customs guys guessing which food I'm bringing it. :p
 

RooFlyer

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As a young bloke I was similarly going through US immigration. The border guard was giving me a hard time.

Finally he looked at me and asked "How do I really know you are an Australian?

Me: "Well, I have my vegemite with me in my checked bag ...."

Him: "Pass - on your way."
 

Boca68

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I've had both extremes of the spectrum.

2007 I lived in Colombia for almost a year, teaching english. I was nearing the end of my time anyway, but had to cut it short by a few weeks to return home for a family matter. Well, got searched in BOG, bag and body pat down! Arrive Miami, a rather surly Immigration agent just pointed at me ..."a signal to go over there!" Huh? What? Where do I go? Confused a lot, not sure what was going on , it was then that 2 even more surly agents stood behind and led me to an interview room. The questions were basically..."what were you doing in Colombia?"... "why did you buy your ticket only 2 days ago?" ... "who paid for your ticket?" ...."what's the square root of 144?". Ok, last one wasn't there, but I was so confused and a lot stunned, they could have asked it.

Anyway, after about 45 minutes and another bag search. Plus a pat down and strip search. Thankfully no body cavity ! I was allowed on my way. On leaving the interview room, one of the agents said to me, "you're a solo male traveller. 30 to 40 (at the time) years of age, travelling from a high risk country on a ticket paid in cash bought only days before. You have ticked all the boxes" "and you were a smart **** with the immigration agent" Huh? I didn't even get to say a word to him? He just pointed, go over there! At which point the other agent said "sure, all you aussies are smart arses!" :confused: Ok, bit my tongue, just wanted to leave.

Outside, waiting to check in for flight to LAX, I was shaking! Got onto my LAX bound flight. Didn't sleep at all.

Made the QF flight to MEL, again didn't get any sleep. :shock: Arrive MEL and again was searched , but thankfully only a few questions this time. After about 35 hours, no sleep, I probably would have admitted to just about anything!

And the other end of the spectrum. Also in Miami, in 2012. Female TSA agent at security to go airside. Looks at my passport, which was then almost 8 or 9 years old, during which time I'd lost 20+ kilos and gone a lot grey...says to me, "Damn! you sure this you? Mr Clooney better watch out!" :shock: and went on to show her colleague the passport. They both looked me up and down, and she said "you can come back anytime" I do believe she flirted with me...lol. Must admit to smiling the whole way to JFK :)
 

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