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Old 17th July 2008, 10:10 PM   #1
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Angry Entering Australia - Grrrrr !!!!

Do the immigration and customs folk in Australia have special training to make them like that ?.

Arrived in PER today on MH and saw the SQ 777 and QF A330 at PER's small international terminal. I knew SQ were due in half hour before us but hoped they should be mainly through as I've never had a big delay at PER.

Got to immigration and it wasn't too bad, maybe 10 minutes to get to the booth. A minute at the booth with the usual 'what business are you here on', 'who are you seeing', 'any samples' yadda yadda... All fine. Walked away and got pounced on by a real beaut. Started off with the same questions again...then flicking through the Passport and seeing all the stamps started asking why I travel so much, why do I go to Saudi Arabia, Indonesia (as if Aussies don't go there ?!?), Philippines etc...

He then told me to wait and disappeared with my Passport. God knows what he was doing with it as he never said, but this is the second trip on the bounce to Australia where they've done that so I'm glad it's full and won't be coming back with me. After more questions, asking to see some company literature and an email from the people I am seeing out here, I was free!.

Then the best bit. A queue the likes of which I have never seen at PER for customs. It snaked up and down four times, then right up to the far corner past the far baggage carousel, where it circled, then all the way back down and past the small foreign exchange booth. Those familiar with arriving at PER will know what I mean.

It took 45 minutes to get out, including both my bags completely emptied and searched, which strangely they were doing to 80-90% of pax. I have never seen this sort of draconian searching entering Australia. Sure they question you, scan your bags and pull you for anything they think may be suspicious, which I have no problem with (despite the sh*tty attitude of most of them doing it...) but I've not seen them automatically search bags without having scanned them like they were today.

I sincerely hope this is a one off.....
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Old 17th July 2008, 10:16 PM   #2
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phew ... that sounds really bad. i hope you'll have a better experience next time.

but what exactly does that mean for aussie-travelers in general now? flying to oz myself, i did not even think about that. should i print out emails of the SQTalkers i visit? lol
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Old 17th July 2008, 10:20 PM   #3
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There's no better place to enter Australia than ADL - best crew by far!
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Old 17th July 2008, 10:50 PM   #4
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I have only been to Australia twice, both times entering at MEL and they are numbers 1 and 2 in my list of worst experiences entering a country. Extensive questioning, full search of all my luggage, rude staff. It really does put me off bothering to go again.
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Old 17th July 2008, 11:33 PM   #5
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Australian customs is definitely not great, sometimes really ugly. I hold an Australian passport and I still treated like one of the Guantanamo Bay prisoners.

Last time, I booked a trip to PER from SUB at the last minute with GA. Arriving in PER, they straight away brings me to the declaration point, even though I have nothing to declare. I only brought one small suitcase with my laptop and a bit of clothes for 2 nights. They took away all stuff in my bag and threw it all around. Everyone probably can see what I brought and stuff... There were extensive questions regarding my business in PER for 2 nights. I was gonna yelled at him coz I had a long day and I was just pissed off. Maybe at that time I was too young to do business trip? Sigh...

Generally, i found that MEL has decent immigration officers, although there is always a bad apples here and there. PER is the worst entry point in my experience. Even SYD, DRW, and OOL are pretty decent too.
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Old 18th July 2008, 06:12 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by MAN Flyer View Post
It took 45 minutes to get out, including both my bags completely emptied and searched, ...
Not bad... only 45 minutes!

PS: Can't resist to reply in a smartxxx mode. You know me well. So 45 minutes would be too short for my this unwanted traveler.
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Old 18th July 2008, 10:32 AM   #7
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I have spent more than an hour in Aussie customs before. Thats one of my pet peeves in entering Aussie, the horrific customs section.

I have to agree that the bag searching is really draconian. They was one occasion where they had almost wanted to open up a present that I had painstakingly wrapped up for a friend even though I repeatedly assure them that it was just a decorative piece of art inside. Only when the supervisor came was then when i managed to get the issue resolved.
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Old 18th July 2008, 10:49 AM   #8
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Having watched the Aussie version of Airport, I kinda understand the lengths to which they go about their jobs. I know I'll HATE IT if I were on the receiving end though!
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Old 18th July 2008, 12:09 PM   #9
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MAN Flyer, unfortunately its not just you experiencing the horrendous lines for Quarantine. On Tuesday, also arriving on MH, it took just over 1.5 hours just to get through Quarantine, and I have never seen a line for declaration in PER that long before (mainly because I usually arrive early morning or late night!).

Whats worse is that TG and BI arrived within an hour of us with GA due to arrive at 5.30pm, and by then, there would've been around in excess of 750 people in that small Quarantine area, with what, around 10 stations?
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Old 18th July 2008, 03:37 PM   #10
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MAN Flyer unfortunately Australia (and NZ too) target certain flights for customs inspections. MH from KUL is a favourite of theirs (and one reason I don't fly MH to/from Oz/NZ). Not every KUL flight gets this treatment, but enough that it makes a difference to route through somewhere else. There are other destinations that get the same suspicion
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Old 19th July 2008, 08:27 AM   #11
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It wasn't MH specific, everyone on the other two flights that arived at a similar time (SQ and QF from SIN) had to go through it.

It's never a nice experience entering Australia, and my rant was as much about it in general as the PER experience. I've entered numerous times through PER, MEL and SYD, and they're all the same.

They were being anal with hand luggage on departure yesterday as well.
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Old 19th July 2008, 09:23 AM   #12
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Hear hear!

I also had to put up with these treatments in SYD and I go through it at least twice a month. It feels somewhat discriminatory to me, when you see people of certain looks gets to go out without xray and some people MUST always go through xray even though:

1. Both persons have nothing to declare
2. Both persons dressed similarly (business suits)
3. Both persons only bring carryons

But this happens EVERY single time...
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Old 20th July 2008, 07:13 AM   #13
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Well, some type of pax get special treatment. KiwiFlyer alluded to that in a post in TOF but that was for SYD IIRC. Now I know to avoid MH into Oz. Ta.

Sorry to hera about your treatment, Manflyer.

My one week trip to PER was met with an efficient passport control but just before I got to the Customs, I was pulled over by an Officer. What he could not fathom was that a person coming all the way from the UK is only spending a week there instead of the usual few weeks. Asked a whole bunch of questions to which I felt peeved and that chap made some notes on my Customs form. I got worried and I then asked what it was and he says that he has 'checked' me. At Customs, I got waved through.
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Old 20th July 2008, 08:53 AM   #14
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Manflyer your experiences sound shocking to have gone through as with the others who have posted similar stories. With BNE as my home airport, I cant say Ive been subjected to anything like that. That said I definetely second Kiwi's view that certain flights are targeted as I have noticed this whilst entering the country on differing times.
It could also be the reasons I give for entering back into OZ are much more palatable for me then yours.
Quarantine wise its always been a joke until recently with the introduction of the Priority Lane which has cut time getting out of the zoo significantly. I indeed hope they do stay.
If any of you have seen that show BORDER SECURITY or shown in the UK under the title of First Line of Defense (I think) it does show how bad it is to get into AUS and I know many people where i reside who are simply put off visiting Australia simply due to the reputation of the anal agents waiting to shove you into a customs interview room...
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Old 20th July 2008, 09:38 AM   #15
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Yep - they seem to target asians... especially men travelling alone. Doesn't matter what passport you're holding. If you have another travel companion, male or female, chances are less that you will be searched and questioned.

I haven't been back to Australia since my last experience in 2005. Going through Aussie INS/Customs makes US INS courteous. It usually is the other way round!

PS - be careful of bringing in certain medication through with you. Even if you have a prescription, if it is banned in Australia, Customs will ask you to destory it. Case in point : Dormicum sleeping pills.
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