CBP at ORD ["Phone abuses"]

Old Sep 17, 19, 2:23 pm
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CBP at ORD ["Phone abuses"]

Upon arriving at ORD from LHR on 20 August, I negotiated the 'booths' where you do the electronic stuff and your passport is scanned. My teenage daughter had a receipt with a diag. cross through it. This appeared to determine our path to an agent. Whilst approx. 20 metres from the agents booth I attempted to switch my phone and gain service in the US as this held my return ticket itinerary. I was glared at by a rather unkempt agent wearing black gloves. He banged the window so I put the phone away. I noted this particular agent was giving everyone a very hard time so we moved lines. This did not impress him at all. His focus remained on me whilst still giving everyone else a hard time.

'Phone abuses' he shouted to his colleague as I reached his booth
'I'm very confused right now' his colleague stated
I explained matters and the colleague shrugged 'Just don't use it at the desk when speaking to us'
'I had no intention of doing so'

What's the big deal using a phone for this purpose 20 metres away and what's the 'phone abuses' thing. That's all nonsense surely. Also, what's the diag. cross mean on the receipt from the machine?
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Old Sep 17, 19, 3:06 pm
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Isn't this clearly posted? No mobile phone usage permitted.

Although not directly relevant, it is a significant mistake not to have a hard copy print out of your onwards or return ticket handy. Things happen to phones and many Officers are not going to squint at tiny screens.
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Old Sep 17, 19, 3:09 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
Isn't this clearly posted? No mobile phone usage permitted.

Although not directly relevant, it is a significant mistake not to have a hard copy print out of your onwards or return ticket handy. Things happen to phones and many Officers are not going to squint at tiny screens.
I don't understand the harm that a cell phone presents to CBP while in line waiting for your turn.
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Old Sep 17, 19, 3:19 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
Isn't this clearly posted? No mobile phone usage permitted.
It is. You can see the signs clearly in the waiting area maze before getting to the booths. There is a slightly older thread in this forum on the subject.

On what authority is cell phone use banned at Customs?

I've seen similar prohibitions on cell phone and camera usage in the immigration/customs areas of other countries besides the US.
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Old Sep 17, 19, 3:54 pm
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With Mobile passport app you need your phone out and on do you not?
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Old Sep 17, 19, 3:59 pm
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Originally Posted by Boggie Dog View Post
I don't understand the harm that a cell phone presents to CBP while in line waiting for your turn.
I suspect they don't want things videoed lest they provide intel with respect to procedures they otherwise don't want easily accessible outside the customs area. Or you know if they behave badly then they'd prefer no evidence, for the more cynical around here.

Arguably not really a risk as are many of these types of restrictions but certainly that would be my guess, and it is not just the CBP who have such a rule (I have noted it Australia and I may well have seen it here in Canada).
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Old Sep 17, 19, 4:24 pm
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Originally Posted by Boggie Dog View Post
I don't understand the harm that a cell phone presents to CBP while in line waiting for your turn.
CBP bans cellphone usage so that passengers can't contact anyone.

For example, smugglers usually work in a team. So by banning cellphone usage, the person at the front can't signal the person after.

Originally Posted by FlyingHoustonian View Post
With Mobile passport app you need your phone out and on do you not?
Mobile Passport app users have a designated lane away from the main lanes. Hence, signaling out those who has a legitimate need for cellphone usage.
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Old Sep 17, 19, 4:27 pm
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I always find it frustrating not to be able to check my connecting flight status and gate (or to track my checked bag) while waiting in line or waiting for my bag to appear.
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Old Sep 17, 19, 4:36 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
I always find it frustrating not to be able to check my connecting flight status and gate (or to track my checked bag) while waiting in line or waiting for my bag to appear.
I understand the frustration. But what you have said is not a necessity.

1. If you don't clear customs, your connecting flight information will not matter.

2. Your bag, unless not loaded, will eventually come out because of customs formality.
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Old Sep 17, 19, 4:40 pm
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Originally Posted by garykung View Post
I understand the frustration. But what you have said is not a necessity.

1. If you don't clear customs, your connecting flight information will not matter.

2. Your bag, unless not loaded, will eventually come out because of customs formality.
Obviously, but if it's tight, I want to be able to run to the gate as soon as I do exit customs, and if my flight or my bag is delayed, I can use the time I'm waiting to research alternative flight possibilities. It's a matter of efficiently using the time I'm forced to wait in order to improve my travel experience.
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Old Sep 17, 19, 5:20 pm
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Originally Posted by garykung View Post
CBP bans cellphone usage so that passengers can't contact anyone.

For example, smugglers usually work in a team. So by banning cellphone usage, the person at the front can't signal the person after.
Signal what?
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Old Sep 17, 19, 5:22 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
Isn't this clearly posted? No mobile phone usage permitted.

Although not directly relevant, it is a significant mistake not to have a hard copy print out of your onwards or return ticket handy. Things happen to phones and many Officers are not going to squint at tiny screens.
Mobile phone use has been advertised at ORD as allowed in a way in the federal inspection arrivals area when entering the US at ORD. ORD even enabled WiFi in the FI area for arrival passengers to use smartphones, something that possibly may have had to do with Mobile Passport Control.

I havenít carried a hard copy of a ticketed itinerary on most of my last 500 international trips, and itís not been a mistake for me ó and certainly not a significant mistake. Less paper is the order of the day, isnít it? Along with more CBP searches of electronic devices.

Originally Posted by garykung View Post
CBP bans cellphone usage so that passengers can't contact anyone.

For example, smugglers usually work in a team. So by banning cellphone usage, the person at the front can't signal the person after.



Mobile Passport app users have a designated lane away from the main lanes. Hence, signaling out those who has a legitimate need for cellphone usage.
The ability to use smart phones for data at ORD was actually expanded so as to go way beyond near the lane ó and not the only lane ó where MPC has been used by me at ORD. See my prior post.

Banning cell phone use in the US inspection area on the basis that such a ban ruins smuggling teams at US airports is mostly wishful thinking exploited by government power trippers and advocates for the same power tripping that almost always hassles just normal, non-smuggler passengers.
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Last edited by TWA884; Sep 17, 19 at 6:05 pm Reason: Merge consecutive posts by the same member; please use the multi-quote function. Thank you.
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Old Sep 17, 19, 5:32 pm
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Originally Posted by Boggie Dog View Post
Signal what?
It is a good thing that you don't know...
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Old Sep 17, 19, 6:29 pm
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Originally Posted by Custardthecat View Post
I explained matters and the colleague shrugged 'Just don't use it at the desk when speaking to us'

This is generally my response as well, it's 2019, there's no stopping it. Heck, I'm using my phone for whatever if I was stuck in line too.

Unless you're talking on the phone or taking photos. Bonus points for talking on the phone while walking up to us. That's an easy referral.

I know a guy at Chicago that had a hard-on for cell phones and other trivial rules, i'm wondering if this was the same guy hmmmm
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Old Sep 17, 19, 6:44 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Obviously, but if it's tight, I want to be able to run to the gate as soon as I do exit customs, and if my flight or my bag is delayed, I can use the time I'm waiting to research alternative flight possibilities. It's a matter of efficiently using the time I'm forced to wait in order to improve my travel experience.
You can deactivate airplane mode upon landing, so you would have a good idea of your connection. It is highly unlikely any material change in the time of waiting which would require your attention. People made connections all the time before we had mobile phones.

Also, you can get GE. I have not spent more than five minutes at any arrival US airport after deplaning to landside. No need to use my phone as I navigate through immigration and customs in the shortest amount of time.
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