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Mama_Cakes's avatar

What is the worst experience you've had going through immigration/customs?

Asked by Mama_Cakes (11060points) June 29th, 2020 from iPhone

One time my partner and I were crossing into the U.S. from Canada after an eight hour drive. We had to cut our trip short because we wanted to get home to sick family member. When we reached customs, we were stressed and exhausted. The first custom’s officer asked us to go into secondary. As we were getting out of the car, the customs officer yelled “leave your phone and bring your passport!”. As my partner was getting out of the car, her phone fell out and on to the ground. As she was going to pick it up to put back in to her car, the customs officer yelled in her ear, “I said leave your phone and bring your passport!!!!”. I was pissed, so I held up the passport in my hand to show her. Kind of like, “Here!”. She was pissed and my partner did her best to talk her down.

Not my finest moment. Lol

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10 Answers

Jeruba's avatar

I received word one evening that my mother was probably in her last hours after years of decline. I booked the next flight for Boston, for a 3:30 a.m. departure from San Jose, and started to pack.

At the airport, stressed, grieving, and desperately sleepy, I got stopped by TSA: a forbidden object was found in my purse. It was a tiny silver pocket knife that my husband had given me before we were married. It had about a 1½” blade. My choice was either to let them confiscate the item or to go back outside the security area and mail it to myself through an unmanned kiosk service.

I looked back at the long, long slow line behind me, where I had already stood my time, and I looked at the treasured little knife,engraved with my initial. And I tried option 3: I cried and I begged.

The TSA agent was unmoved. “Lots of people are dying,” she said.

I went back out to the kiosk, filled out the form and supplied a credit card number for the $10 charge, and dropped the envelope with my knife in the slot, expecting never to see it again. Then, while the clock ticked down and my anxiety rose, I went back to the end of the creeping line, limp and barely able to stand up.

I got to Boston around dawn and slept all day. My mother died the next night. I did get to see her, and stayed with her until an hour before she passed. She was unconscious, but maybe she was aware of someone’s presence.

About six months later, my little knife arrived in the mail.

This was domestic, not immigration and customs, but it was definitely my worst airport experience.

Then there was the time that I stood for two hours in the wrong boarding line at De Gaulle and didn’t know it until last call for my flight . . .

Dutchess_III's avatar

This is why I love the Wichita Airport. It’s so small you don’t really have much in the way of lines.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Returning from honeymoon in Canada, driving my dad’s 2 year old Buick Electra 225 Limited. Got to border in Vermont, we were returning to Middlebury. The Border guard had us both get out and three guys started to take everything out of the car including rear seat and spare tire. They thought we were bringing drugs over the border, maybe the Buick looks a a little strange for someone my age to be driving.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

The worst I had I was bringing a load of Tallow up from Washington state when I got to the border the broker papers were not there, and it was a friday night I was some kind of choked the border guards were sympathetic said the load could not proceed without the papers,I called the boss and told him I was five seconds from leaving the load at the border,never heard my boss react so fast to me stay put,withing five minutes got a call from some brokerage company out of New York city and ten minutes after that a car pulled up to the border went into the office there and produced my papers .

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

They took my pepper spray they took my pepper spray
The worst though was a customs officer that used to talk bellow to me in the voice of Popeye from across the street as I walked my dog.
I changed my route because of that goofball. XD

ucme's avatar

A tall fat bloke routinely patted me down.
He had this awful odour about him & wore an ill fitting peaked cap.
I felt like I’d been frisked by jabba the hat!

zenvelo's avatar

I was flying back to San Francisco from Hong Kong and visiting my parents in Indonesia. My dad said, “Dress nicely so it will be easier when you go through Customs”.

When I got to San Francisco, they pulled me out of the regular Customs line and into a small room to :continue the investigation.” They threw me up against the wall told me to spread my legs, gave me a full body pat down, then went through all my luggage to the point of squeezing the toothpaste.. When I asked why they had selected me, they said I was dressed to nicely for a kid returning to college, and that drug smuggllers dressed well to throw off suspicion,

janbb's avatar

I was patted down leaving Britain last year for no apparent reason. It was by a woman and I’m usually not bothered by a pat down but this one was particularly invasive. I was pretty upset.

Also, after I lost my passport in Great Britain one year and had to get a new one, often when I come back into the country, I am flagged at Immigration and have to go sit in a room on the Group W bench before being cleared to leave. Luckily, that usually doesn’t take very long.

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