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strange boarding experience at UIO

strange boarding experience at UIO

Old Oct 27, 16, 1:19 am
  #1  
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strange boarding experience at UIO

Recently traveled to UIO for the first time (great experience that I can truly recommend to all – especially the old town is magnificent!) and upon departure at the airport I had what seems to me a rather unusual or should I call it strange experience when boarding. Probably not strange or unusual at all for someone who flies there often but as this was my first time in UIO (and the region) I was quite puzzled.

The boarding pass advised that you should be at the boarding gate a full 2h(!) in advance for a flight to MAD – first I thought that might have been an error but left the lounge (which is nothing to write home about anyway) to be there just to see if this is really meant seriously. And they did! They started calling numerous passengers, probably around 5 at a time and perhaps 30 or 40 in total, herded them off to a separate enclosure and then guided them away.

No idea at all why this was the case and where they took them as I was not “selected” so I am quite puzzled and just keep wondering what this was all about as I have never seen or experienced anything like that before.

Just a few wild guesses here - was this perhaps a kind of special security screening? Or something to do with preventing illicit drug trafficking? And what did they do – check the people’s passports once more? Made another security screening? Checked their baggage?

And how / why were these people selected? Randomly? Something in their travel profile? Or perhaps something to do with profiling?

There are surely some people in the know on the forum and I am quite curious to find out what this was all about (and what I have missed)
noturbulence is offline  
Old Oct 27, 16, 11:33 am
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What airline was it? More than likely extra screening. I've never been to UIO but I have been screened a 2nd time before boarding the plane in Sao Paulo and also in Santiago. The check in Sao Paulo seemed to be random but I got pulled aside after I showed my ticket to the gate agent but before I got to the plane. Santiago was a little more strict as I believe everyone got screened a 2nd time. Not TSA style but looking through bags for liquids and stuff. I was pretty disappointed that my genius idea of taking 4 cans of beer out of the AA lounge for the flight was thwarted.

Both times I don't know if they were calling people ahead of time for this or not. Regardless of what time it says to be to the gate, I usually just wait in a bar and stroll up 20 minutes before flight time. As far as terrorism is concerned, Western Europe is the new target of choice so I wouldn't be surprised if this was just a policy of the airline. Remain vigilant!
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Old Oct 28, 16, 1:06 am
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Originally Posted by nsummy View Post
What airline was it?
That was a direct flight on IB to MAD
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Old Oct 28, 16, 6:51 am
  #4  
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Flew UIO-ATL on DL three days ago.

My boarding pass read "SSSS," the standard US designation for those who have been randomly selected for an extra-thorough check. (Has never happened to me in the U.S.; I have TSA pre-check in case that's a factor there.) Going through regular security was normal, no special treatment there. At the gate, about six or eight of us were taken aside to a separate area, patted down, and had our carry-ons searched.

I have no idea what they were searching for. I don't fit any dangerous profiles, unless retired Caucasian professors have recently been identified as a threat. They were polite the whole time and careful with my stuff. We weren't in a separate area, but there was a table by the gate that was screened off from general view. The screen was below eye level, even my not-so-tall eye level, so you could see what was happening to the one or two people who were in front of you in the line.

As for being there two hours in advance: the check-in positions opened three hours before flight time (DL doesn't have enough presence at UIO to keep them staffed all day), so that would mean a fairly narrow window. I checked in soon after the desk opened, went to the VIP Salon that serves as a Delta Sky Club, and stayed there until less than an hour before departure. Wasn't a problem, I was far from the last person at the gate, and I sat there for a bit before anything happened.

Finally, I agree with the OP about recommending Quito as a destination. There's a lot more to Ecuador than the Galapagos!
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Old Oct 28, 16, 11:15 am
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Who is it that turns forum posts in to clickbait on the homepage? I was led to this thread by clicking on "This Is the Weirdest Boarding Experience I've Ever Had" on the homepage. Not AT ALL representative of the OP's post, which was just him or her politely remarking on an unusual boarding experience they had.
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Old Nov 1, 16, 2:04 am
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Ecuadorian citizens require visas to Europe so visa theater at the gate was what caused the "2h rule"
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Old Nov 18, 16, 11:09 pm
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Flights to Madrid and New York especially have very long lines, so the airlines themselves recommend a full 3 h before at the check-in line, 2 h before you're expected to go airside for security and passport control.

And the special procedure you witnessed was extra security screening. I've witnessed this on my Latam international flights. A percentage of the pax are preselected for this extra screening and will be summoned prior to boarding.
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Old Nov 19, 16, 1:43 pm
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Originally Posted by miamiflyer8 View Post
Ecuadorian citizens require visas to Europe so visa theater at the gate was what caused the "2h rule"
Wouldn't that be verified at check in for most people like everywhere else?
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Old Nov 20, 16, 1:39 am
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Originally Posted by ajeleonard View Post
Wouldn't that be verified at check in for most people like everywhere else?
It may vary, I've at least always encountered the visa check at the gate on any airline in any country.
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