I had the not so desirable luck of traveling immediately after the British announcement about terrorists planning to blow up airplanes with liquid explosives. I was prepared for a much more intense security check. I made sure to comply with the “No Liquids” policy and even went so far as to remove my gel shoe inserts which I sorely missed. I was going to stow them in my checked luggage but since the TSA searches bags I figured why give them an excuse.
Outbound from the US to Paris was business as usual. I few questions about gels and liquids but other than that, normal security.
Coming back was a bit more intense however. In Paris I was checked three times and my ticket was examined six times. There were also armed military personnel walking the terminals. It’s been a while since I’ve seen an automatic weapons in an international airport. Each of the three security check points were thorough and tedious. The last one occurred just before boarding at the gate. This check was the most thorough. Amazingly, there were people who still had contraband like perfume and makeup. Makes you wonder how they got past the first two checks.
Yet for all this security, no one checked my passport. Yes, you heard correctly. I went through customs as usual, but when I got to the front of the line, they just waved me through. That’s the first time I just skipped through customs. Stranger still was that there was essentially no line, so it was not like it was crowded. As far as I could tell, the customs officer was busy filling out some paper work and didn’t want to bother with me. Being a WASPy looking type, I guess he figured I was safe. Scary if you ask me.
US Customs in Detroit seemed a bit more vigilant as well. They asked more questions of me than the usual where did you go and do you have contraband. Still it was relatively painless