I’m sure I’m not the only one who is curious about this…
Those silly questions on US-bound flights
If you’ve ever flown to the United States from select international destinations (including Europe and South America), you’ve probably dealt with quite a bit of security theater. Specifically, either at check-in or at the gate, there are staff who have to ask you a series of questions. If you pass the “test,” then you’ll typically get a sticker on the back of your passport confirming that you can board the flight.
While the exact details vary, questions typically include:
- Where are you coming from, and what’s the purpose of your trip?
- Have you packed your bags on your own, and have they been in your possession the entire time?
- Has anyone asked you to carry anything for them on the flight?
- What electronics are you traveling with, and have you had any of them repaired recently?
Just to be clear, this isn’t like flights to & from Israel, where you have trained intelligence officials doing questioning, including behavior detection. Rather these are generally contract workers who largely don’t seem very well trained, to put it politely.
What I’m curious about…
Am I the only one who has questions about this whole practice of asking security questions prior to boarding?
- In the years of this happening, and the millions of people who have been questioned, has any sort of risk been averted because of this? If someone had bad intentions, it’s not like this questioning is going to be what gives them second thoughts
- I can understand the yes or no questions that are asked, but what’s the point of asking where someone has been and how long they were traveling for? The people asking these questions don’t strike me as trained intelligence officials, so are there some destinations that will set off a red flag, is this behavior detection, or is this just some sort of small talk?
- What happens if you don’t give the “correct” answer, and admit that your bag hasn’t been in your possession the entire time, or that you didn’t pack it yourself, or that you were asked to bring something? Will you simply be searched, or is there more to it?
The whole thing seems like such a massive waste of resources to me. I’m curious if there’s something I’m missing. I don’t know, given how many people get scammed by phone and email thinking that they need to buy Amazon gift cards for the IRS, maybe this does accomplish something?
I also struggle a bit with answering the questions. For example, when you’re asked if your bag has been in your possession the entire time since you packed it, can most people claim with 100% honesty that this is the case? I mean, when you see people in airline lounges, they don’t typically walk to the buffet while dragging their carry-on, so technically it seems that most people don’t. Yet what happens if you were to actually admit that?
Aside from Israel (which takes security a lot more seriously), the United States is the only country I know of to have security questions prior to flights. I’ve always been intrigued by these, so I’m curious to hear what OMAAT readers think.
What’s your take on the security questions on US-bound flights? Have you ever given the “wrong” answer, and if so, what happens?
GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings