passport, please

January 9th, 2007

I had to show my passport four times traveling from Warsaw to Amsterdam. First at the check-in counter, where I got my boarding pass. Then at the passport control that separates the main hall from the waiting area for travelers. Then at the gate my luggage was scanned, but before I could board the plane, I had to show my passport again. Is this really necessary? If there's a *hello* passport control, how about we let them worry about passports? What is the point of checking the same document over and over? If the check-in process denied us boarding cards without a valid passport, wouldn't that be enough? On the other hand, if I check in online, I don't have to show my passport, so why do I have to do it at the airport? Get a grip, will you.

Then I arrive at Schiphol, and I have to go through another passport control (just one this time) to get to the baggage claim. Little did I know when she asked me the most unexpected question. "What is your destination?" "Huh?!?" Did I end up in Transfer instead of Baggage Claim? No way, I did follow the right signs. "Uhm, I just arrived." "What is your destination?" What the hell are you talking about? For a moment I thought she needed to know where I had come in from, so I said that. Now I was positively stumped. I'm *at* my destination, why would she ask me a question like that? "Do you want to go to Amsterdam?" Look lady, I just got off a plane, right? *In* Amsterdam. If I had a connecting flight, I would go to Transfer. If I had a connecting flight, my baggage would also be routed to the new flight, so there would be no reason for me to go to Baggage Claim. *Everyone* who goes to Baggage Claim is headed to Amsterdam. So what the hell are you on about?

It occurs to me that perhaps someone has a connecting flight with an eight hour stopover, and they want to go into the city in the meantime. To get out of the airport, they have to pass through the Baggage Claim (and show their passport), but obviously without claiming any baggage. So that's only explanation I can imagine. But if so, isn't there some more logical way of asking that question, other than to confuse all those who have arrived in Amsterdam without planning to leave soon? *But*, even if this were the case, once they leave the airport, they are breathing the sweet, sweet Dutch air. It doesn't matter what their plans are after that, cause if they desperately wanted to come to Amsterdam, and used a pretext of a further destination, they've arrived anyway and there's damn all you can do about it. So in _those_ cases, they would just run the passport, and if it came up positive for Extremely Objectionable Person, they would just deny them exit of the airport. There would be no need to ask any questions anyway. So.. get a grip.

On a different note, they refuse to tell you why you have to unpack your laptop and run it through the x-ray separately. I asked the guy at Schiphol, and the joker that he was, he said "if you come work for us, we'll tell you". How witty. So I say "but it still goes through the same machine". "Yes, but then we can't see it booting." I *think* that's what he said, I don't remember the exact words. I was playing them back in my mind and I couldn't make any sense of it. I'm guessing he had no idea what he was saying.

:: random entries in this category ::

8 Responses to "passport, please"

  1. Jack says:

    The laptop thing I really don't understand, why it has to be out of the bag? It happened with me a couple of times, I had to take the laptop itself out of its bag but left many other things in the bag.

  2. erik says:

    Booting? What the hell... He was probably messing with you, just using the first random word that came to him to finish his sentence with. Tends to happen when you bug people with questions they probably hear a hundred times a day. I did it as a tourguide too.

    Don't really relate to the "What's your destination" question since all they ever say to me on Dutch airports is "Welcome back" (Amsterdam, Rotterdam) or "Welcome home" (Eindhoven) which I think is a nice little detail.

  3. erik says:

    Booting lol I bet he was just trying to get rid of you with the first bogus word that came to him. I used to do that back when I was a tourguide. You get sick of answering the same question time after time after time...

    As for the destination question, all they ever said to me on Schiphol, Rotterdam and Eindhoven was "Welcome back" yippee

  4. erik says:

    Booting lol. He was probably just trying to get rid of you using the first bogus word that came to him. I used to do that back when I was a tourguide, you get sick of answering the same question time after time after time...

    As for the destination stuff: that's just crazy. Never had it myself though, all they ever told me on Schiphol, Rotterdam or Eindhoven was "Welcome back" yippee

  5. Jack says:

    I think Erik made a point

  6. erik says:

    gah your spamfilter sucks

  7. Boyo says:

    Last time I arrived at Schiphol they asked my all kinds of weird questions at passport control. And it was just a normal charter flight from Benidorm.

    - "From which airport did you depart?"
    - Ehhh... dunno. Somewhere in Spain.
    - "Let me see your ticket"
    *hands ticket over*
    - "Alicante. You departed from Alicante."
    - Ok.
    - "How long were you there for?"
    - Two weeks.
    - "What was the purpose of your visit?"
    - Vacation.
    - "Did you have a nice time?"
    - It was ok.
    - "That doesn't sound very positive".
    - The weather wasn't too good.
    - "I see... "
    *passport control guy stares at me for a while*
    - "Welcome back in Holland".

    :googly:

    I have no idea why they did that. I've been through passport control dozens of times, and never did anything like that happen. What business is it of theirs if I had a good time or not? And at a tone, as if it was some sort of courtroom cross examination. Maybe they thought I was trying to sneak into the country, and were trying to see if I would val through de mand.