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Stupid S*** TSA Asks You When You Are Returning to Korea

This is from an answer/question episode that occurred between the ticket gate and the actual plane that was flying me back to Korea.

“Where are you going?” (Guess what the response was)

“How long will you be there?”

“What do you do there?”
(“male exotic dancer” or “professional drunk” are my favorite responses)

“Do you have any large amounts of money on you?” and

“how much money do you have (on you) now?”
My answer was “four dollars in cash”.

About the author: Psst, want to buy some used marble cheap?

  • http://vmphotography.com.au hoju_saram

    I actually don’t think the questions are that silly. A lot of customs agents ask where you are going to find out if you’re just passing through the destination country or intend to stay there. It’s faster asking a passenger than opening their passport and searching for a visa.

    The rest of the questions are very standard. What amuses me more is when you fill out the arrival card and it asks if you’ve been involved in genocidal activity recently.

  • R. Elgin

    . . . What amuses me more is when you fill out the arrival card and it asks if you’ve been involved in genocidal activity recently.

    You are very naughty and I’m not surprised that you are Australian.

  • Seth Gecko

    Canadians would agree with me that Vancouver has the biggest collection of pricks that ever failed at life and decided to be a customs agent. Intrusive SOB’s behind a “badge”.

  • jkitchstk

    I would recommend they add one more Q at the end “Were you offended by any of these questions?” so they can put you on a list of those that are.

  • http://landinglunkers.com Nomad

    Canadians would agree with me that Vancouver has the biggest collection of pricks that ever failed at life and decided to be a customs agent. Intrusive SOB’s behind a “badge”.

    I take it you’ve never had the misfortune of landing in Detroit then?

  • http://vmphotography.com.au hoju_saram

    Or Brisbane.

  • fanwarrior

    What does any of that have to do with security? Like a terrorist is going to say:
    “Joe McTerrorist”
    “Less than a day”
    “Blow up a building”

    Beyond that none of those questions have anything to do with security on the plane.

    Last time I went back in to Canada it was a fast and pleasant experience with the wife, barely any questions at all. “Visiting the family for the holidays” done.

  • bumfromkorea

    Oh please. Try getting a tan and going through Sky Harbor. :D

  • http://www.wm3.org/Updates iheartblueballs

    You’re complaining about that? Jesus, you got the VIP treatment.

  • numberoneoppa

    Or Atlanta.

  • r.rac

    I usually hate coming back to the US, immig and customs are slow and arrogant.

    However, this past winter we went through DFW, the immig agent was incredibly friendly and fast we told him we’ve been gone a year he was “Welcome Home”. We got down to baggage claim our bags were there instead of the usual 45 min wait, zipped through customs and could have made an earlier flight to Austin.

    Now going back through security, that was another story, rude and arrogant as hell and that was every airport I went through

  • Creo69

    What are they supposed to ask you?

    “Did you make sure to go to the bathroom before boarding?”

  • Creo69

    “Now going back through security, that was another story, rude and arrogant as hell and that was every airport I went through”

    The last time I left Thailand I had to wait for five minutes while some big, dumb Russian (not stereotyping…I saw his passport) who spoke very little English argued about the fact that he wanted to carry his bottle of booze on the plane with him. Sure it is their job, but if you had to deal all day long with people who lack basic common sens, can’t read simple instructions AND can’t decipher picture explanations you would be a bit irritable too.

  • babotaengi

    “Or Brisbane.”

    No shit. Visited family there two Years ago. Being an Aus. Citizen residing in Korea, I wasn’t sure what category to check for purpose of travel to Australia: visitor/returning/etc., so I decided to leave it til I get to the customs desk and let him figure it out for me. Bloke at the desk said, “We’ll go with “returning”. No worries.

    I probably spent a little too long perusing the Single Malts in the duty free, so found myself alone when I collected my luggage. This metrosexual little kid, no older than 21, came up to me and started interrogating me about my status and purposes. I just handed him my passport and arrival card. “Oh, this is wrong,” He said, “You’re only here two weeks – we have to change this to visitor, eh.”

    I was tempted to comment on the colour of my passport, but wanted to get out of there, not into a debate, so settled for, “You’ve got a pen, eh?”

    I guess he had nothing better to do between flights, but it seemed pretty unnecessary and totally obnoxious… unAustralian, even.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    Gosh, what’s wrong with you people? I’ve travelled to North America an average of 3/yr for the past 17 years. I generally come and go via NYC/JFK, but I’ve also arrived/departed at LAX, SFO, DFW, SEA, YDT, IAD, HNL,ORD and DTW. I’ve always been treated courteously by Immo and Customs, always getting a hearty “Welcome Back”. Post 9/11, the security procedures have sometimes been an inconvenience, and the screening personnel indifferent at best. But i travelled a lot back when the PLO was hijacking and bombing planes, and once spent a hot morning enjoying the hospitality of Egyptian special forces when a flight i was on was landed at an airbase in the desert after being diverted from Cairo after it was reported to be carrying a bomb. And i was once detained at Charles DeGaulle by the French Frontier Police because on check-in my passport was found to have contained a repeated pattern of sequential visa entries in various unusual places that was deemed suspicious. Current security procedures are a comparative trifle. Adopt an Alfred E Neuman aaritude, and grin and bear it. Better yet stopping comporting yourself like him, and you won’t have to.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com setnaffa

    Granted the TSA have been more successful at stopping folks from bringing snacks from home than either the shoe or panty bombers; but the fact is that many criminals *ARE* stupid, arrogant, or high enough to give incriminating answers when asked…

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    Just out of curiosity, what was the hospitality of Egyptian special forces like, Sperwer?

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    That’s a bit of a long story, but the short version is that it progressed from having an MP5 up my nose to a rather lengthy interrogation about my itineraries over the preceeding couple of years, which involved a regular circuit of Denmark/Netherlands, East Germany/Poland, Beirut/Jordan and Egypt, to shared cups of Turkish coffee once they confirmed my story of working on a transaction the counterparty of which was the Egyptian Army itself.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    And, no, i was not in the arms business.

  • R. Elgin

    . . . I take it you’ve never had the misfortune of landing in Detroit then?

    This was in Detroit. They were not that bad but this sort of thing is an obvious waste of tax money and is like interactive dinner theatre without the meal.
    I don’t understand why many have complained about the pat-down procedure. I opted out of the millimeter wave scanner and asked for a pat-down which they did and it felt good to have my back rubbed as they did. I can’t complain though I wish he would have done it longer.

  • http://dok.do/4aVK41 Year of the Dragon

    #14 Brisbane…

    me too, when I fly in there and explain that I am just visiting my family for one week and bringing my students with me to see Australia they often make me line up in the “foreigner” line with the students and make me tick visitor/tourist, even though my passport is also blue.

    I agree with them and usually ask “You won’t tell the tax office that I am here will you?”

    They claim not to share info with the taxation office of my whereabouts.

  • doctoroh

    I had a friend who was an immigration agent, and was assigned to JFK for a few years early on in his career. He was a sadistic SOB, and just loved wise-ass answers to the standard list of questions. Some people did not realize he had all day and night to entertain them. He did.

  • r.rac

    I was at the airport for Inle Lake in Myanmar where they have no metal detectors. You literally go into a screened off room and get patted down, they got a guy doing it for the guys and a lady for the women. Very nice people though

    Still the US TSA people are some of the nastiest people I’ve encountered barking orders like drill sergeants etc. Going through US security is about as bad as going to the dentist

    Like somebody else said 95% of the US Immigration people I’ve encountered are very nice, its really nice after a long flight and being away for several months to hear a “welcome home”. Then again I don’t look a bit suspicious and when I tell them I’m an English teacher in Korea its almost like they feel sorry for me :)

  • SomeguyinKorea

    #3,

    Oh, hell yeah. Last time I went through Vancouver, it was to bring my son to stay at grandma’s for the long break. Had my return ticket, my ticket back to Canada, and our return tickets on the same flight two weeks after my second flight to Canada.

    “Do you have his mother consent to travel with him?”

    “Sure, of course. She’s the one who made the reservations.”

    “Do you have her written consent?”

    “I have the return tickets.”

    “Well, anybody can reserve tickets.”

    I thought to myself, “No @#$@#, you moron. We’re at a @#$@ing airport. You should be concerned if we didn’t have %#$#damned tickets.”

    But I just smiled at him and said, “Check the dates, I’m returning to get him in 6 weeks. You can call her if you want. Her phone number is on the tickets.”

    Effing moron. The whole signed consent document (there’s not even an official format to it) is only recommended (it isn’t required) when travelign with a child outside of Canada when 1) you’re not the child’s parent, 2) your the parent but you have either foreign citizenship or dual citizenship. They started recommending this about 10-15 years ago because there were too many cases where fathers from Middle-Eastern countries would kidnap their kids while getting divorced to their Canadian wives (the same also took/takes place in the US. I believe there was a famous case where the mother had to hire former special forces members to get her kids back.)

    But…I was bringing my son to Canada and we are both Canadian citizens.

  • SomeguyinKorea

    #5,

    I have. Never again. Going through security check at Lester B. Pearson and then a very thorough one in Detroit involved everything but latex gloves and vaseline? We fly Air Canada even if it costs us 150$ each more just so we don’t have to go through Detroit.

  • http://globalasianculture.com Liz

    Fellas,

    Usually I roll with the punches at immigration, my theory is let them think they’re in charge and things go smoother. It’s a power trip for them, really.

    But coming back from a transpacific flight recently, I dealt with the mother of offenses. Has this ever happened to you? The TSA — I sh!t you not — broke the lock of my checked-in luggage and left a Notice of Baggage Inspection inside my suitcase. It reads:

    “To protect you and your fellow passengers, TSA is req. by law to inspect all checked baggage. As part of this process, some bags are opened and physically inspected. Your bag was among those selected for physical inspection.

    During the inspection, your bag and its contents may have been searched for prohibited items. If the TSA security officer was unable to open your bag because it was locked, the officer may have been forced to break the locks on your bag. TSA sincerely regrets having to do this, however TSA is not liable for damage to your locks resulting from this necessary security precaution.”

    So looks like I’ll be spending my own money to replace a TSA-damaged lock, something I wouldn’t have to do if they inform passengers not to place locks in the first place. Lame.

  • Arghaeri

    Nothing new about that Liz, not just a US thing.

    Never put locks on for that exact reason, anything worth anything goes in the hand luggage.

  • guitard

    r.rac wrote:

    Still the US TSA people are some of the nastiest people I’ve encountered…

    Like somebody else said 95% of the US Immigration people I’ve encountered are very nice…

    So which is it?

  • http://www.joeseoulman.blogspot.com joeseoulman

    I was recently hassled by the actual Hawaiian Airlines ticket agent when returning to Korea. She did not understand why I didn’t seem to have a return ticket.
    I replied that this was the return portion of a round-trip ticket (which was on the top half of the e-ticket that she had in her hand).
    I also asked her if it was necessary to have a return ticket–if it was possible for a person to buy a one-way ticket to Korea. She did not answer.
    She asked when I would be returning to the US. I honestly did not know. After living in S.Korea for 10 years, I don’t really have any idea when I’ll be returning to the US. Why is it any of her concern anyway, I asked? She did not reply.
    As for when I’ll be flying Hawaiian airlines again? Not any time soon.

  • R. Elgin

    . . . She asked when I would be returning to the US. I honestly did not know. After living in S.Korea for 10 years, I don’t really have any idea when I’ll be returning to the US. Why is it any of her concern anyway, I asked?

    Exactly. This is the same crap I got from the blue-shirt busy-bodies in Detroit so I made up a number and still they wanted to know what I do for a living.

    Still, many have fought and died just so I can go anywhere I want, anytime I want without having to be accountable to any government and I think that most average Americans do not appreciate this unwarranted intrusion into their affairs especially since it does nothing to protect them.

  • http://bcarr.com Brendon Carr

    I love the “Welcome home” one gets from US Customs & Immigration Service agents when returning from overseas, and doubly so when the agent says it with a strong accent.

  • guitard

    I love the “Welcome home” one gets from US Customs & Immigration Service agents when returning from overseas, and doubly so when the agent says it with a strong accent.

    How dare those bastards let anyone but people born and raised in America do those jobs. Someone must not have gotten the memo about immigrants only being allowed to wash cars and hoe beans.

  • http://bcarr.com Brendon Carr

    I said I love it. Why not take it at face value?

  • http://vmphotography.com.au hoju_saram

    Still, many have fought and died just so I can go anywhere I want, anytime I want without having to be accountable to any government

    You’re not Jason Bourne are you?

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    @30

    Why don’t you get over your unearned sense of entitlement so fewer people may have to fight and die for “your” freedoms today.