Norwegian newspaper tests abroad passport controls

VG, one of Norway’s largest newspapers published a test the other day – what they think of different abroad passport controls. How was their first impression of a country. I found it very amusing and couldn’t resist trying to translate it and share it with you. Sorry about my English and grammar and I think this was supposed to be read with a pinch of humor. Heres what they wrote (with points from 1 (bad) to 6 (very good)) :

Donald Sangster International Airport, Montego Bay – Jamaica
Points: 6
JamaicaSwift and friendly, neat information in the passport control area. A real sunshine reggae! “We pass in 10 minutes despite that 3 fully loaded planes were let in at the same time”. Beautiful posters with information fills the area. Large windows with fantastic view of warm Caribbean paradise. “Welcome to Jamaica – home of Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser – it should be : “Welcome to Jamaica – home to the most effective and pleasant border guards”. Forgotten is the crowded plane that took us here, forgotten is the sour wind and loud experience in pass control in USA. MMS Photo: Rune Thomas Ege

Heathrow (Terminal 3), London – Great Britain
Points: 3
You have to walk far and further than far. Else not that bad – if you have the correct color on your passport. The difference on how you are being treated is huge – depending if you’re from EU/EEA or if you’re going through the more intesive control into the old empire. The border guards has no appearent interest studying Norwegian id-papers, even a fully loaded SAS-plane is let through in a hurry in the carpet filled hallway and into baggage claim and train. Those who, on the other hand, have to fill out arrivalcards and talk to an inspector should bring food and water. Those lines get incredible long in the worn down terminal 3, where they don’t use all the desks. The walk from the plane to the passport control also decrease it’s score. Its long, less tidy and the interior is everything else than beautiful. PS! British Airways is now using terminal 5, a far more comfortable environment there than this. Photo: Reuters

Borispol International Airport, Kiev – Ukraina
Points: 3

“The one who makes you smile” is J-Lo singing on the large monitor, but its not affecting the border guards. The scene is absurd; a slightly undressed Jennifer Lopez wiggles on the large ceiling monitor, serious guards with large gold-covered shoulders and both legs safely planted on the floor. “The way you smile … it drives me wild …”.. No smiles are detected in the dust gray faces, the faces that welcome tourists to Kiev. No spasiba, no welcome, nothing. Non existent knowledge of English and armed members of the Ukrainian army also contribute to a sad Borispol-airport experience. But if you ignore the sad faces the system is surprisingly alike the soviet bureaucracy. The lines shortens swiftly, even in the middle of the night, only two arrivals the last 30 minutes probably should be credited for that. Even if you don’t need visa a “prefilled” immigration form is a must. We experienced that the field’s content wasn’t very important as long as they were filled. The worst? Its more scary to be offered a taxi outside Borispol than getting drug-offers in Oslo in the middle of the night. Photo: Rune Thomas Ege

Newark Liberty Airport, New York – USA
Points: 2
Is USA getting safer by having angry border guards? If you fly in towards New York on a clear weather day you can’t avoid noticing that theres still a few buildings missing on the city’s skyline. Its a fair reminder of why USA have so many strict security measures that, for us, seem a bit odd. On the Newark-airport at least 10 “trainhost-uniforms” had a dedicated job guiding us to the desk with the shortest line. They executed their job in such eager that most of the passengers were confused and walked into the wrong line. When it was our turn the man in the desk went to eat lunch. The angry “trainhosts” immediately stepped up and chased us to a different line, in the back of it. At this desk a lady sat barfing “next!” to each passenger. No trace of “please” here, as we learned about in our English lessons. The lady stamped here and there, captured portrait photo and fingerprints and asked the questions she is instructed to do (without listening to the answers). Puh! We passed the test! Photo: US CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION

They are adding to this test as they go, if you like I’ll update this post as well.

Link to the Norwegian article : VG.

Øyvind Lasse Høysæter

Born in 1971, fell in love with computing in 1983 because of Sinclair's masterpieces. Continued on the magic surrounding the C64, Amiga and moved to the PC world in 1990. Loves science fiction, programming, astronomy, my family and my job. (developer) :)

6 Responses

  1. De Alfonso says:

    About Heathrow, it is true and it is not funny. I have been in and out of UK several times and each time I got to go through these long cue with others like me who like you have said don’t have the favored passport color. One time I witnessed how this lady of color was asked to open all her luggage and all the contents were strewn on the floor by the guy who inspected them. I tried to help the lady fix her things back but I was told to just get out.

    Wait till you hear of my experience at Gardaemon

  2. geir says:

    syntes denne passkontroll er litt teit. alt kommer bare pa hvilken type du moter i passkontrollen. hadde kjempe morsomt mote med passkontrollvakten her i Chicago O’Hare, og det hadde bestemoren og moren min ogsa.

    • Tone J. says:

      Vel…. jeg var også innom Chicago O’Hare i sommer, og møtet med endeløse køer, “flytogvakter” som plutselig loset oss bakerst i en anne kø enn vår opprinnelige, samt møtet med passkontrolløren – var alt annet enn morsomt eller vennlig.
      Jeg hadde gitt terningkast 1.

  3. Yngve says:

    Hei, uten at jeg har lest heleundersøkelsen, så vil jeg anbefale Tbilisi International Airport, Georgia, som en hggelig passkontroll å komme til, som nordmann. Rask og vennlig!

  4. older says:

    BTW, “spasiba” (or, better, “spasibo”) is Russian word. It means “thank you”. Ukrainian equivalent is “dyakuyu”.
    It’s not clear from the article why they expected ukrainian border guards to thank them in Russian…

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