It happens quite a lot in the case of us Americans, that being when you’re used to flying all over the country and then one day you fly internationally you realize just how differently things work. Some of the protocols you’re subjected to may even be a bit offensive, but you need to keep an open mind and try not to get offended.
Ordered to take your shoes off
Okay, this one is more for those international travelers flying into the USA than US citizens visiting other countries. Many international guests are quite perplexed at the request for them to take their shoes off as part of the airport security scan. We’re one of only a few places where this happens, apparently.
Being pulled into customs clearance for questioning
This is one border practice a lot of first-time American travelers to Australia and New Zealand are particularly shocked by, that being getting pulled aside and sometimes even brought into a room for questioning. There’s nothing to it really – it’s just a matter of the customs officials doing their job of following up on some information about your travels which they need to clear up. For example, they might ask you what the purpose of your visit is to make sure you’re a legitimate tourist and don’t perhaps intend to work while you’re supposed to be visiting, thereby taking work away from one of their own citizens.
Don’t worry – if for any reason you’re delayed by the airport officials wherever it is you’re transitioning through, they will be liable for the costs of the delay. In other words they will cover the costs of the extra charges you might have otherwise incurred, so all you can do is cooperate with the process that’s causing the delay so that it can be resolved as quickly as possible.
Trust me, every single traveler who is subjected to a random search will find some grounds for discrimination of some sort to cite as the reason why they’re being targeted specifically. Yes, in some instances the officials do implement some discriminatory practices, but if you have nothing to worry about, just play along so that the process is not slowed down in any way. Some of the best traveler stories start with being pulled aside for a random search.
Asked to produce documentation
This is a common practice as part of the fight against things like terrorism, but that doesn’t mean when you’re asked to produce documentation proving you are who you imply you are, that you’re on some list of suspected terrorists.
Being pulled aside for a health assessment
The reason why regional epidemics such as the likes of Ebola never made it to countries like South Africa is because airports have some health checking infrastructure in place, such as a body temperature scanner. So if you’re pulled aside for a quick health assessment, it’s as much a measure to help you if you might need medical attention as it is to help fight the introduction of illnesses which aren’t ordinarily existent in that country.