Upset About USA Security

April 3, 2011

in Airport Stories

I fly from Norway to USA once or twice a year. Usually I use SAS, from Bergen to Kastrup, Copenhagen, then from Kastrup, Copenhagen to Dulles Washington. This usually goes smoothly; check in Bergen and going all the way through to Dulles Washington, just interrupted by showing my passport at Kastrup. Then just go straight on and into the SAS machine.

This time, as my USA family was picking on me for not helping the US economy, I thought, “Ok, let’s try the American way.”

Cheap tickets were bought through Continental and United; seats with extra leg room were bought too.

Arriving Kastrup, Copenhagen, American paranoia Part One:

A lot of silly questions – do you have a weapon (excuse me, the body is a weapon – I didn’t dare tell them), did you pack your own bags (what happens if I say, “No, I left that to my Muslim friend”), and several other silly questions.

American paranoia, Part Two:

As other passengers are boarding I thought I should board the plane too. Oh, no, since I was in transit; they could see in my passport that I had been cleared several times for a visa to USA, Russia and Turkey.

“Oh, no, mister, this is not the way we do it. We have to wait for the computer to clear you…” Long story short, 25 passengers stood in the hallway to get clearance from the computer that didn’t work – 125 passengers sat inside the plane waiting for the 25 outside… who BTW all had ESTA visas.

Did anything happen on the way back… I am just not gonna tell you about 275 passengers waiting for 50 minutes because the entertainment box for business class was not working… on a night flight…

End of story; fly something else than American…

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Weetniet April 4, 2011 at 10:55 am

This summer, I flew from AMS to MRS via LGW with British Airways. They also asked me "silly questions." Even Easyjet asks them! Therefore, I don't believe that these questions are not asked by Norwegian airliners (as opposed to the American ones.)

Also, it seems weird to me that your passport would need to be "cleared" by an airliner just before boarding! I never read such story before on FFH. The airlines' only job is to fly people around. Could anybody please confirm or debunk the OP's story that passports are "cleared" just before boarding (by American airliners)?


Person November 3, 2014 at 10:27 am

I have never been asked those questions on any Norwegian airline and I have never heard of them being asked (I can be wrong of course). I have seen the question: "did you pack your own luggage?" on a sign by the check in, but it has never been asked.


Peace Lover April 6, 2011 at 2:50 pm

Indeed the security procedures can be a hassle but they are for our safety. I do recall one time when I was a lad my mother and I were flying off on holiday and I had to walk through some strange box like contraption that proceeded to scare the life out of me by blasting me with jets of air.


Hugh April 12, 2011 at 4:28 am

OMG, those puffs of air must have been SO scary. You poor dear.


madachode April 11, 2011 at 9:05 am

Listen, we have a right to impose any security check we want on anyone, period. If you have a problem with that then stay home, quit complaining.


Hugh April 12, 2011 at 4:27 am

The airline itself is not responsible for those questions, they are federally mandated. If they trouble you so much, that you feel it made it a flight from hell for you, please don't come to the USA. Last I checked I didn't see where terrorists flew four planes into things in Norway. Hopefully they never will. If it happens and I am asked silly questions when going there, I'll totally understand.


Troy April 12, 2011 at 7:45 am

I have a great joke for those people who like to complain about the standard of airlines in the US. (Not myself). The joke will follow in the next post.


Troy April 12, 2011 at 7:51 am

A man sees an attractive stewardess in an airport bar. He introduces himself by trying to guess her airline. ‘The spirit of Australia’, no reply, ‘OK, so not Qantas, what about ‘smooth as silk’, no reply, ‘OK, so not Thai airways. She suddenly gets up, looks him over and says ‘What the F@*K do you want? Oh, the man says, you work for United.


pes April 13, 2011 at 8:07 pm

well you have to remember the us pc handling of security. being scandinavian you must have set off alarms profile wise. after all, we all know norskes, swedes and danes are responsible for all of the terrorist activities in the world, right?


James April 15, 2011 at 10:34 am

Delaying as flight for 50 minutes because an entertainment system doesn't work can be pretty annoying — particularly if it leads one to miss a connection, and on some international flights, that can be a long delay.

A few years back I was on a flight from EWR-LHR in first class and the entertainment system didn't work. It was a redeye, and all eight of us said to the crew, skip it, we want to sleep. Nope — two hour delay, missed connections (one person was going to Africa where the flight was weekly — not sure how they resolved that one, but it could have been a week's delay) all for an entertainment system that went completely unused.


Bjorn April 16, 2011 at 11:25 am

Hardly a flight from hell. If the worst thing about the flight was TSA checking your name against a database and asked are you a terrorist, then this seems to me to be a very uneventful flight.

BTW: Think the questions are dumb, you’d be amazed how often in my line of work, you ask someone a question they say yes then recant becasue people do not stop to think about the answer they give.

Cop: do you know you were speeding:
Driver: Yes, I mean no, not really.

Judge, Do you know the defendant?
Witness: Yes, I mean no not really.

TSA is not looking for a yes or no answer, they are waiting for people to answer opened ended to look for something that does not sound right. If you do not like American screening, then I suggest you NEVER fly to Israel. American security is quite tame in comparison.


greuben April 25, 2011 at 4:12 pm

As for the entertainment system, remember the aircraft has to make a return flight. Maintenance is available in downline cities but, it is better (read: less expensive) for the airline's own mechanics to take care of issues that arise in hub cities.
The airlines feed a list of all international passengers to the TSA for clearance. Typically, this is seamless and the typical passenger would never know. However, their may have been a issue with the computer.


professionalbackpacker June 23, 2011 at 2:24 am

Your an idiot


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