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Homeland Security interview (after CAI-LHR before allowing LHR-JFK)

Homeland Security interview (after CAI-LHR before allowing LHR-JFK)

Old May 3, 18, 7:21 am
  #1  
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Homeland Security interview (after CAI-LHR before allowing LHR-JFK)

Well that was an experience.

Couldn't go airside after CAI-LHR. My travels clearly had flagged up something on the database.

​​​​​​I'm not taking SSSS either. This was an American lady in a power suit who works for the department and it was a very detailed interview about me, my surrounding life, what I do, etc.

She clearly thought I was nuts doing this bonkers TP run...!

// second half, at JFK arrivals //

So, repeat ESTA printed with a massive cross through the paper (quite amusing, tbh), which obviously put me in a special line.

Officer did the usual fingerprints and checks, was very nice - probably the chirpiest I've ever had, actually. Got through that and he explained I'd need to answer some more questions with another agent.

There was no waiting: straight to interview room 1. Officer was really understanding, took lots of notes, asked similar questions to those of the LHR agent. Quite probing and personal.

Searched my bags fairly thoroughly. He was a bit perplexed by my second UK passport (it has various visas in for business travel), which I hadn't explicitly declared but hadn't been asked about prior.

However, at no point was I, the passenger, searched. Not to any degree. Not even to empty my pockets. Not that it would have been a problem: only had phones, credit card and some lip balm on my person.
​​​​​​
Repacked my bags, got a special stamp on the paperwork and was on my way.

Actually quite painless (probably due to the officer's friendly manner). Took maybe 30mins.

And, realistically, it's absolutely what the US should be doing when a UK passport holder travels from Egypt to their country. So fair's fair. I'd just not really considered it. Especially as I've visited the States maybe 12-15 times in the last 12 months - I'm so used to being 'welcomed back', but in this instance that volume of travel combined with CAI probably added to the suspicion.

But I shan't be doing an ex-CAI run to the States again any time soon/ever...!
​​​​​
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Last edited by mmxbreaks; May 4, 18 at 4:37 am
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Old May 3, 18, 7:43 am
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Originally Posted by mmxbreaks View Post
Well that was an experience.

Couldn't go airside after CAI-LHR. My travels clearly had flagged up something on the database.

​​​​​​I'm not taking SSSS either. This was an American lady in a power suit who works for the department and it was a very detailed interview about me, my surrounding life, what I do, etc.

She clearly thought I was nuts doing this bonkers TP run...!
If you don't yet know what the DHS TTRT is (Tactical Terrorist Response Team), you will do in about 9 hours. I hope you don't have a short connection or plans immediately after your arrival at JFK!
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Old May 3, 18, 7:59 am
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A colleague of mine works for the FBI, she’s one of the legal eagles at a European Embassy, she said we can expect all kinds of attention in the future for those with strange or unusual travel patterns. This will include interrogation at foreign airports by DHS personnel and/or secondary inspection on arrival in the US by DHS and even FBI officers.
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Old May 3, 18, 8:05 am
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Thanks for this Tobias-UKthis I wonder if they'll be attracted to the spike in folk travelling from OTP-multiple US ports
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Old May 3, 18, 8:18 am
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Originally Posted by mikeyfly View Post
Thanks for this Tobias-UKthis I wonder if they'll be attracted to the spike in folk travelling from OTP-multiple US ports
They are particularly interested in visa-waiver nationals travelling from non-visa-waiver countries. Especially Turkey at the moment.
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Old May 3, 18, 8:21 am
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I should also add, that having GE makes no difference at all to this.
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Old May 3, 18, 8:22 am
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This is exactly why I hate the U.S. and don't want to visit it ever. The U.S. treats their own people even worse than other countries treat foreigners.
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Old May 3, 18, 8:25 am
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Crikey! Now I'm worried. We are flying from Brazil to London via JFK in December. It's cheaper than flying direct, gives double the TPs and the long connection allows a day of shopping in manhattan. I wonder what they will make of that?
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Old May 3, 18, 8:29 am
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Originally Posted by miklcct View Post
This is exactly why I hate the U.S. and don't want to visit it ever. The U.S. treats their own people even worse than other countries treat foreigners.
That's really not true at all. Americans are some of the most courteous people in the world, including the immigration officials.
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Old May 3, 18, 8:31 am
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Originally Posted by Airprox View Post
If you don't yet know what the DHS TTRT is (Tactical Terrorist Response Team), you will do in about 9 hours. I hope you don't have a short connection or plans immediately after your arrival at JFK!
Anybody know the TP's for one-way trip to Guantanamo Bay??
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Old May 3, 18, 8:33 am
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Originally Posted by BrianWBrazil View Post
I wonder what they will make of that?
I expect that they will see it as absolutely normal and unexceptional. I really do wonder sometimes why some FTers are so quick to worry about such things!
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Old May 3, 18, 8:34 am
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Originally Posted by miklcct View Post
This is exactly why I hate the U.S. and don't want to visit it ever. The U.S. treats their own people even worse than other countries treat foreigners.
We best not get too far OMNI on this, but I wouldn't let this sort of hassle get in the way of visiting a truly remarkable country. It's just on the border and there is a reasonable back story as to why there is increased security. There are 325 million people in the USA, all of them different and each bring their own perspective to any encounter we are privileged to have in their country. Stereotypes or broad brush opinions won't give you much insight here. If you never get the chance to visit the USA, you're the one who is going to miss out.

Having said that, maybe have a look on Youtube at Dame Edna Everage's classic interview with Michael Parkinson (2004). In it Dame Edna recalls giving President George W Bush an atlas for Christmas, then getting a telephone call from him asking where to find "overseas", since it wasn't in the index. Laura had suggested "abroad" but that wasn't in the index either.
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Old May 3, 18, 8:40 am
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I don't see anything that strange here...I doubt the algorithm / process which picks up "suspect" travel patterns has really factored in the murky world of tier point / mileage runs...

And in the abstract, if I were being a little paranoid (which is half the spooks' job...) I'd probably look twice at someone on a UK passport / ESTA making a 24 stop in Cairo right before trying to fly into JFK...

Also - you can be pretty sure this thread will get picked up by various interested parties now...so, ya know, hello all you spooks out there and what do you think about "buy on board" catering or Qatar's business class?
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Old May 3, 18, 8:48 am
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Originally Posted by Globaliser View Post
I expect that they will see it as absolutely normal and unexceptional. I really do wonder sometimes why some FTers are so quick to worry about such things!
probably they will not see it as normal if the person is flying from US to Brasil and couple of hours later he/she is transiting US on the way to Europe...
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Old May 3, 18, 8:51 am
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Originally Posted by ratypus View Post
I don't see anything that strange here...I doubt the algorithm / process which picks up "suspect" travel patterns has really factored in the murky world of tier point / mileage runs...
And in the abstract, if I were being a little paranoid (which is half the spooks' job...) I'd probably look twice at someone on a UK passport / ESTA making a 24 stop in Cairo right before trying to fly into JFK...
From a security standpoint, it all makes perfect sense to me to check on individuals who have travel patterns like this; just as long as the explanation that you are in it for the low-cost points is accepted, as strange as it may sound.
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