Private security playing immigration

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  • cybertravller
    Participant

    I don’t know if this is a common occurrence, but I have had this happen to me once and witnessed it being done to another passenger.

    The first instance was flying Air Transat from GLA-YYZ; when checking in, a rather self-important private security official took great interest in my British Passport because my country of birth was South Africa. He then proceeded to ask immigration questions, namely, how I obtained my citizenship and whether I needed a visa for the US (strange since I was visiting Canada).

    The instance I witnessed was returning to London from Athens on Aegean, with a security guard checking passports and proceeding to interrogate the Chinese national who had a valid UK and Schengen visa as to why She was going to the UK and how long she planned to stay there. The lady in question was standing before me so I could see what was happening.

    Has anyone else witnessed this or been subject to this?


    ASK1945
    Participant

    I am not sure what you mean by “private security” but I am guessing that you are referring to personnel not employed by the airport or government.

    If you travel out of TLV, whomever you are and on whatever airline you are taking, you will be interviewed this way by security employed by the public authorities every time, before you get to the checkin/bag drop desk. If they are concerned by your answers, you will be taken to a side room for further questioning. They have been doing this for years, it is to prevent malevolent persons joining flights and gives assurance for most passengers in these dangerous times.

    3 users thanked author for this post.

    cwoodward
    Participant

    At many airports including HKG passengers traveling to the USA are often ‘interviewed’ prior to embarking by private security personnel employed by the US government.
    This is nothing new.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    workandtravel
    Participant

    While additional security screening can be inconvenient, I understand the desire of authorities to ensure passenger safety. Perhaps a polite word with the security officials could help clarify roles and reduce worries for travelers.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    azidane
    Participant

    I believe that these are airline employees double checking passengers have the correct visas etc as an airline is fined something like £20,000 for each passenger arriving into the UK without visas. I have seen this being done in Addis, Cairo, Istanbul and various other cities with direct UK flights.


    cwoodward
    Participant

    In HKG the security people re US are are NOT airline employees nor I suspect are the others mentioned here.


    esselle
    Participant

    I think it is pretty common for sub contractors to do this work on behalf or airlines who are, as azidane points out, liable to fines if they allow pax to travel without the correct documentation.

    So checking passports, visas etc is a routine activity which is devolved to organisations independent of the airline.


    cybertravller
    Participant

    Thank you all for the informative posts. This leads me to the question, are these sub-contractors trained sufficiently to spot fake passports and visas? With the advent of biometrics in both passports and visas and considering the encounter I had with the individual in Glasgow who does not know the difference between the USA and Canada, are these posts fit for purpose?

    3 users thanked author for this post.

    cwoodward
    Participant

    It rather depends on the country or airline employing these people and of course the reasons for doing so. Those employed by a government agency I assume would be properly trained – by an airline possibly less so.

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    ASK1945
    Participant

    At TLV the security personnel are very highly trained and fully examine passports at a machine, after their questioning – depending upon the answers given. They are stationed before you get to the checkin desks. Having listened to the answers and checked the passport more thoroughly, you may be taken to a side area, as I described above.

    After checkin, the border officials check the passports again.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    cybertravller
    Participant

    I always view TLV as the exception rather than the rule. When it comes to security the Israelis are world leaders.

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