Brussels Passport Sticker Fiasco

Old Mar 13, 2023, 8:18 am
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Brussels Passport Sticker Fiasco

Flying BRU-ORD. Check in on-line with the app. Get the green “ Travel Ready” button. Cool. Go to airport, clear security. Go to de-immigration control and get my passport stamped. Cool. Find the lounges, and chill out until about 15 min before the flight, pre-boarding 1K and lounges go great together. Walk up to the pre-board entrance with my pass port and BP on my app- and they ask where my ‘sticker’ is. I give them a quizzical look? What sticker?

“The sticker on your passport, oh then you need to get in that 40 person line down there and get a sticker..”. (Here is where it was kind of weird, because it seems that the ‘sticker checker’ might have been able to let me through, but the UA person and the sticker Nazi both kind of chuckled and said “Naaaahhhh.”.).

We are boarding, the sticker line is loooong. I pull a DYKWIA and walk right up to the sticker guy and ask where the premier access is. I have no idea if there is, but I’m going to miss my flight if I have to wait in the whole line. The dude asks me how long I was there, what I was doing- two follow-up questions. Get my sticker and I’m back to the gate. PB line is closed, and the GA tells me back of the BG1 line. I tell her that ain’t happening. LSS, I never saw the end of the BG1 line.

I’m pretty hot, but coming down since I’m set to board and it all worked out. Ask the couple in front of me about their sticker experience. They say that they got theirs at check-in since they had bags. It looked like to me and the other pre-boarder that ended up having to get a sticker had just carry ons.

I cleared out-bound immigration where they stamp your passport. I would have thought that and the Travel ready was all I needed. In retrospect I wondered if I just needed to show them my passport stamp- did they think that I was non-shengghen and you need the stamp for transfers- but the couple that had checked in had a sticker and the originated in BRU.

I’m not a globetrotter, but not my first rodeo. I have stickers all over my old passport. I’ve never anywhere had to seek out a ‘sticker’ dude to get out? Sure, you get a sticker, but it is part of the process and you usually can’t proceed with out it.

Anyone have any insights on why BRU almost ended up being a fiasco for me?
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Old Mar 13, 2023, 8:25 am
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Guess you haven't traveled Europe -> US in many years. This has been the process for MANY years and is different based on airport. Some airports like FRA and BRU have a separate line for US-bound travelers as you approach the gates and ask you the same questions they've been asking for years. A robot can get through them. Then they put a sticker on your passport and you are clear to board. Other airports do this check at the gate. But it's still "required" for US-bound flights.

FRA, for example, has people yelling at you as you approach the Z gates asking if you're traveling United to the US. If you say yes you get in queue. Absolutely no separation of queue based on business/coach or status/no status.

I believe this is only for US-based carriers as well.

-RM
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Old Mar 13, 2023, 8:30 am
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Originally Posted by RobOnLI
FRA, for example, has people yelling at you as you approach the Z gates asking if you're traveling United to the US. If you say yes you get in queue. Absolutely no separation of queue based on business/coach or status/no status.
Last month at FRA, there was a separate queue for Polaris/1K to get their stickers. Everyone else waited in another line.

FWIW, the general line was quicker than the Polaris/1K line.
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Old Mar 13, 2023, 8:33 am
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As RobOnLI said above, this is standard. You either get the sticker at ticket counter if you check in there, or you get it on way to gate if you bypassed (transferred or self-printed / digital BP).

I find best way to do this is not show up for boarding until about 15-20 minutes after get the text. Then there is no one in line, the ICTS people are always quick, and no need to mill about in a gate scrum. There's always overhead space on a widebody. Works even with SSSS.
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Old Mar 13, 2023, 8:36 am
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Originally Posted by RobOnLI
Guess you haven't traveled Europe -> US in many years. This has been the process for MANY years and is different based on airport. Some airports like FRA and BRU have a separate line for US-bound travelers as you approach the gates and ask you the same questions they've been asking for years. A robot can get through them. Then they put a sticker on your passport and you are clear to board. Other airports do this check at the gate. But it's still "required" for US-bound flights.

FRA, for example, has people yelling at you as you approach the Z gates asking if you're traveling United to the US. If you say yes you get in queue. Absolutely no separation of queue based on business/coach or status/no status.

I believe this is only for US-based carriers as well.

-RM
BRU has the same people yelling at you asking if you are flying United and asking about the sticker. There are even signs right in front of the UA customer assistance corral (queue area) near the UA gates directing UA pax to see an agent. Its not tough unless you aren't paying attention.

EDIT: The ICTS stickers are for security, and have nothing to do with the Travel Ready Center. The TRC only came about as a way to manage docs needed for covid travel. TIMATIC is for visas, etc. All totally different animals.
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Last edited by gmt4; Mar 13, 2023 at 8:41 am
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Old Mar 13, 2023, 8:40 am
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Originally Posted by sannmann
Last month at FRA, there was a separate queue for Polaris/1K to get their stickers. Everyone else waited in another line.

FWIW, the general line was quicker than the Polaris/1K line.
That is only at the ticket counters; no separation at the Z gates entrance.
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Old Mar 13, 2023, 8:43 am
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Originally Posted by fumje
That is only at the ticket counters; no separation at the Z gates entrance.
I think they meant at the entrance area in Z to the UA gates -- on the left is the J line, on the right is the Y line.... You practically get tackled walking to the gates if you are flying UA....
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Old Mar 13, 2023, 8:45 am
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Originally Posted by bmwe92fan
I think they meant at the entrance area in Z to the UA gates -- on the left is the J line, on the right is the Y line.... You practically get tackled walking to the gates if you are flying UA....
If they do separation there, I have never seen it — only one queue. Maybe due to my above strategy, though. 🤭 Most people I have ever waited behind is about two.
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Old Mar 13, 2023, 8:51 am
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Originally Posted by fumje
If they do separation there, I have never seen it — only one queue. Maybe due to my above strategy, though. 🤭 Most people I have ever waited behind is about two.
The last 10 times I have been through after leaving BAH there are two lines.... One for J and one for Y - but that is typically in the morning -- no idea what it's like later in the day....
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Old Mar 13, 2023, 8:52 am
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Haven’t done INTL since COVID, but three passports full of stamps before that, and like I said, lots of stickers. Never was surprised by a sticker audit at the gate. I actually went to that little UA desk to ask about lounges when I got there and there was no Sticker NAZI on station like there was later. I got to the gate 15 minutes before boarding and no sticker warning. I agree, BOM you CAN’T get through to the gate with out a sticker. I guess I was lulled by the ‘Travel Ready’ icon on my BP, which was a lie.
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Old Mar 13, 2023, 8:55 am
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Originally Posted by PushingTin
Haven’t done INTL since COVID, but three passports full of stamps before that, and like I said, lots of stickers. Never was surprised by a sticker audit at the gate. I actually went to that little UA desk to ask about lounges when I got there and there was no Sticker NAZI on station like there was later. I got to the gate 15 minutes before boarding and no sticker warning. I agree, BOM you CAN’T get through to the gate with out a sticker. I guess I was lulled by the ‘Travel Ready’ icon on my BP, which was a lie.
"Travel Ready" on a BP isn't a lie, it has nothing to do with airport passenger screening. Its for covid.
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Old Mar 13, 2023, 9:07 am
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Originally Posted by bmwe92fan
I think they meant at the entrance area in Z to the UA gates -- on the left is the J line, on the right is the Y line.... You practically get tackled walking to the gates if you are flying UA....
Originally Posted by fumje
If they do separation there, I have never seen it — only one queue. Maybe due to my above strategy, though. 🤭 Most people I have ever waited behind is about two.
Originally Posted by bmwe92fan
The last 10 times I have been through after leaving BAH there are two lines.... One for J and one for Y - but that is typically in the morning -- no idea what it's like later in the day....
I fly through FRA often and have never seen a separate line for J vs anyone else. Everybody queues up on the right and waits in line with no effort made to separate the lines based on cabin or status.

Note: I have seen this all times of day including when I arrive and have to walk past the line. Weird that you have seen this 10 times and I've not seen it once and I've been through FRA 10x in the last year.

-RM
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Old Mar 13, 2023, 9:11 am
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Originally Posted by RobOnLI
I fly through FRA often and have never seen a separate line for J vs anyone else. Everybody queues up on the right and waits in line with no effort made to separate the lines based on cabin or status.

Note: I have seen this all times of day including when I arrive and have to walk past the line. Weird that you have seen this 10 times and I've not seen it once and I've been through FRA 10x in the last year.

-RM
Don't know how to explain but I fly this route every month -- it's been very consistent that there were two lines the past year (not before when it was one long useless line) -- but it's been a few months now so maybe it changed....
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Old Mar 13, 2023, 9:20 am
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Originally Posted by bmwe92fan
Don't know how to explain but I fly this route every month -- it's been very consistent that there were two lines the past year (not before when it was one long useless line) -- but it's been a few months now so maybe it changed....
Just went through last week and saw only one line. There were a couple desks to the left but not being used to process anyone, and the cordon only placed on right side. Same previous few months. Last summer/fall, the desks were arranged a bit differently but I could only see evidence of one queue. Only thing I can guess is separate lines is a day of the week thing, if they're still doing it?!
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Old Mar 13, 2023, 10:27 am
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Originally Posted by RobOnLI
I fly through FRA often and have never seen a separate line for J vs anyone else. Everybody queues up on the right and waits in line with no effort made to separate the lines based on cabin or status.

Note: I have seen this all times of day including when I arrive and have to walk past the line. Weird that you have seen this 10 times and I've not seen it once and I've been through FRA 10x in the last year.

-RM
To clarify, when I connected through FRA on February 20 to the late United 933 flight to IAD, there were two lines to obtain a security sticker prior to reaching the United Z gates. The line on the left was for Polaris/1K customers. The line on the right was for everyone else.

I waited with other 1K customers in the line on the left. It was somewhat frustrating that the line moved slowly. The general line moved faster.
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