When flying to the US and Canada, the airline usually interviews you very intensely - triple checking your visa and asking you about your plans. The questioning is at times more detailed than what US/Canadian immigration actually asks when you reach your destination. In comparison, flights from North America to Schengen countries are extremely lax - nobody ever asks you any questions or even bothers to verify if you've exceeded the 90/180 rule.

What's the reason behind this? Surely Schengen countries fine carriers for carrying passengers without a proper visa just like their North American counterparts, so why don't airlines check those flights just as strictly?

NB: The above only applies to non-US/Canadian citizens

  • This is not always the case. My wife and I (both US passport holders) have flown multiple times Oslo > Oakland and Gatwick > Oakland in the last few years, and we've never been interviewed before flying, just asked to show our passports. Nov 17 '18 at 17:42
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    @David it would not be surprising at all if the behavior described in this question were encountered only by people other than US passport holders.
    – phoog
    Nov 17 '18 at 17:52
  • I've found the reverse - not usually much scrutiny on checking in, much more questioning on arrival in US (although it seems to be incredibly variable). Then again I haven't been to the US recently...
    – nkjt
    Nov 17 '18 at 18:03
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    @phoog Of course, that's perfectly reasonable and I agree. But the original question wasn't limited to certain passport holders, and presumed (if only by inference) that what the poster experiences happens to everyone. Nov 17 '18 at 18:41
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    On nonstop flights from India to the United States, passengers are required to pass through an extra security check at the gate. Is this related?
    – gparyani
    Nov 17 '18 at 21:57

From experience, this depends a lot on the airport (and maybe the shift you meet too). You might just have been flying from an airport that is 'sharper'.

I fly many times a year from different German airports to the US, and it is always easy-peasy, except MUC (Munich) - there it takes much longer, long questioning, full camera disassembly required, all electronics out and rescanned, etc. Either from bad experience or different training, MUC personnel has a very different approach.

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