On a recent trip, my family and I were chosen for a “random” customs inspection. I had never been flagged for one before. Since I have Global Entry, coming back home had always been a smooth process.
I suspect we were selected because we had a cart full of luggage to inspect. We weren’t worried about it. In fact, I had already consumed and given away the packaged roasted pork jerky that I purchased at another airport.
What to Expect:
- Expect to open up all your luggage for inspection.
- Be prepared to answer questions about what’s in your luggage.
- Be prepared to answer questions about where you just traveled to/from.
Interestingly, the couple next to us was given a stern talking-to by a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer. Fortunately, our CBP officer was slightly friendlier. When the CBP officer inquired about what’s in some of the bags, I’d answered frankly: “I don’t quite remember. You can open it.” And she would. And then we’d move on.
There was one exception. We threw in all dirty laundry into a duffel bag. She asked what’s in the bag. I quipped, “Dirty laundry.” Continuing with my mantra, I added, “You can open it if you like.”
I nearly laughed out loud when she said she’s all set with that one.
If you do get selected for a customs inspection, there’s really nothing to worry about. Don’t bring in any of the prohibited or restricted items and you should clear a customs inspections easily. If you have items, declare them.
It seems that the couple next to us had their item (whatever it was) confiscated and given a warning. They were still there when we left. In that case, they had it easy. A woman was actually fined $500 after taking an apple given to her as a snack on a Delta flight. That is one expensive apple, right there.