strangest boarding/security issue - any ideas?

Old May 31, 17, 11:10 am
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strangest boarding/security issue - any ideas?

We just returned from an overnight flight from Lima to NYC on latam and must say it was one of the weirdest boarding experiences ever.

We were flying business class and waiting at the front of the appropriate line.
there were two tables set up next to the door allowing access to the jetway with like 4-5 employees standing there.

There were ~18-20 wheelchairbound passengers allowed to board first and the people at the door hand searched all their bags. They also proceeded to search various other bags (not mine but my wife's bag) and had passengers empty all their water bottles or throw out bottled drinks before boarding the plane.

We had already gone through security and my wife filled her bottle of water and got an inka cola from the lounge. what's up with this?

Also, there was another employee doing a random chemical swabbing of some passengers before boarding even began.

Super weird. The crew onboard wasn't able to given anyone an idea of why this was happening. I heard several other business class passengers ask them about this.
babern38 is offline  
Old May 31, 17, 11:32 am
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Not weird at all.

The US mandates that for international flights bound for the US, specifically originating from countries where they have no way to influence or trust in local security checkpoints, the airline must conduct a liquids check prior to boarding -once airside-

This has a lot of logic, since TSA liquid requirements are more stringent than most countries. Even if some liquids will be taken away at LIM's security checkpoints regardless of destination, they don't actually enforce the 3-1-1 rule, which is why airlines must do it.

Random explosive -rather than chemical- swabbing is also performed at random by TSA mandate.

What may seem odd to you is that in the US this is done at the security checkpoint. Since security checkpoints on international airports outside the US are agnostic to what your destination is (they couldn't care less, as long as you meet local requirements), the enhanced checks are not done there but airside. It's the same checks on a different place
(Same will happen if you're randomly selected for secondary inspection -SSSS in your boarding pass-)
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Old May 31, 17, 12:27 pm
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Originally Posted by babern38 View Post
We had already gone through security and my wife filled her bottle of water and got an inka cola from the lounge. what's up with this?
Yes, that is life in any airport heading to the US. If you fly nationally in Peru you would be surprised by what you can take in your carry on...

What I find most surprising is that your wife would buy an Inca Kola. Most foreigners –i'm assuming you are not Peruvian– can't handle its bouquet... something of an adquired taste.

Oh about the wheelchairs: Peruvian law has preference for senior citizens (over 65), pregnant women and disabled people for anything: lines in banks, supermarkets, and airport lines. Lately I've seen more and more old people using that prerrogative in flights. I know it might be culturally shocking, but once more, some US airlines allow military in uniform to board first, I guess it is a cultural thing.
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Old May 31, 17, 12:42 pm
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You must not fly this route often. They always do this. The first time I found out after taking a few drinks from the lounge
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Old May 31, 17, 1:36 pm
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If you ask me that is much nicer than what can happen in some Central American or other north South American countries. I remember flying out of El Dorado (BOG), and either Guatemala City or San Salvador and seeing armed soldiers with drug detecting K9s.
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Old May 31, 17, 4:56 pm
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Ahhh the drug sniffing dogs... They have them in SCL too, but you hardly ever notice them. They seem to take them for a walk around the gates when they see something suspicious on the CCTV only

But yes, BOG takes it to the next level (note to self: never ever throw away the receipt if I purchase coffee -either whole or ground beans- landside and intend to take it through the checkpoint. Not so fond memories!! hahaha)
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Old May 31, 17, 4:56 pm
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Originally Posted by MfromL View Post
If you ask me that is much nicer than what can happen in some Central American or other north South American countries. I remember flying out of El Dorado (BOG), and either Guatemala City or San Salvador and seeing armed soldiers with drug detecting K9s.
Heck I've seen that in Cozumel
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Old May 31, 17, 5:01 pm
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This is standard procedure in HKG as well for flights to the US.
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Old May 31, 17, 5:08 pm
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"Weirdest boarding experience?"

Isn't that a bit of an exaggeration?
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Old May 31, 17, 5:46 pm
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Flying to the US from San Maarten through Panama City on Copa I was surprised by this secondary security at the gate for the flight leaving Panama City.
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Old May 31, 17, 7:52 pm
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I cop this stuff on every international flight into Australia. If you want to buy duty free liquor, it must be purchased in sufficient time for the retailer to security seal it and deliver it directly to the gate for collection. Any water bought airside is confiscated at the last check at the gate.
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Old Jun 1, 17, 9:05 am
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I was flying from EZE to DFW last Nov. in First Class on AA. I have TSA Pre-Check and the AA credit card. I still got the dreaded SSSS on the boarding pass. I talked to the agent at the ticket counter and she tried 3 different times to "fix" it and each and every time it came up the same. Fortunately the gate agents allowed me to board first and I had given my larger carry on to my traveling partner and only had to get a quick pat down and a look at my small computer bag. Other customers that didn't know what it was were confused and wondering aloud what was happening. What was even more frustrating was that even though I didn't have the SSSS on my connecting flight, I didn't have TSA Pre-Check and got stuck in the DFW am rush of overnight connecting passengers. Made the flight but as soon as I boarded they shut the door.
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Old Jun 1, 17, 9:12 am
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Originally Posted by winston vickers View Post
I was flying from EZE to DFW last Nov. in First Class on AA. I have TSA Pre-Check and the AA credit card. I still got the dreaded SSSS on the boarding pass. I talked to the agent at the ticket counter and she tried 3 different times to "fix" it and each and every time it came up the same. Fortunately the gate agents allowed me to board first and I had given my larger carry on to my traveling partner and only had to get a quick pat down and a look at my small computer bag. Other customers that didn't know what it was were confused and wondering aloud what was happening. What was even more frustrating was that even though I didn't have the SSSS on my connecting flight, I didn't have TSA Pre-Check and got stuck in the DFW am rush of overnight connecting passengers. Made the flight but as soon as I boarded they shut the door.
TSA Precheck has no effect whatsoever on US-bound flights originating outside the US, regardless of carrier. It's a US security checkpoint thing, not a global perk.
And yes, even if you have Precheck you may still get the SSSS (particularly if you are boarding outside the US)
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Old Jun 1, 17, 9:20 am
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What the OP experienced is pretty common for flights to the USA, for example from PVG and EZE. I've also seen it at CDG. There were all DL flights, so it happens on USA carriers too. I expect it to become more common and more intensive.

Brazil also has express handling of older passengers, IIRC 60+. I'm thinking of the special lane for security to the far right, near the landside PP lounge, when leaving from the domestic San Paulo airport.
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Old Jun 1, 17, 10:32 am
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
What the OP experienced is pretty common for flights to the USA, for example from PVG and EZE. I've also seen it at CDG. There were all DL flights, so it happens on USA carriers too. I expect it to become more common and more intensive.
Yes, especially if you are not a U.S. citizen. I got drilled by a security lady on a DL flight to MSP from CDG earlier this year after she saw my non-EU passport. She was quite annoying with her questions, after seeing my F1 visa: what do you did in France?, where did you go? (answer: oh, Tours, visiting ladyMfromL) oh, where is that? (to prove her that I went really where I said I was, and had some knowledge of French geography), even though she was French and knew very well where it was... Took me ten minutes to demonstrate I was doing legit stuff in France and that I was a legit student in the U.S.
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