When I’ve traveled to Japan, I’ve always avoided getting behind South Asians in line at customs. Japanese officials profile. I’m not the one they’re looking for, but it slows things down to be behind the people they will pull aside.
Everywhere customs and immigration is a little bit different.
U.S. immigration is hard-nosed in Toronto, especially for Canadians entering for temporary work. Portland used to have a reputation as “Deportland.” At most ports of entry to the U.S. they’re looking for terrorists, and people with immigrant intent. In Australia they’re looking for… snacks.
It was only last month that Australia fined a woman $1750 for failing to declare a half-eaten subway sandwich. Now a passenger has been fined $1870 after McDonalds McMuffins were found in their backpack.
In fact, the contraband consisted of two sausage and egg McMuffins along with a ham and cheese croissant. The passenger had come off of a Jetstar flight from Bali to Darwin, in Australia’s Northern Territory. The breakfast survived the 2 hour 35 minute flight, but was confiscated and tested for foot and mouth disease.
Credit: Government of Australia
They don’t take forgetting the remains of your breakfast in your backpack lightly Down Under. And the Darwin airport’s biosecurity detecting dog Zinta is being hailed a hero.
“This will be the most expensive Maccas meal this passenger ever has, this fine is twice the cost of an airfare to Bali, but I have no sympathy for people who choose to disobey Australia’s strict biosecurity measures, and recent detections show you will be caught,” Minister Murray Watt said in a news release.
According to Watt, the airport’s new biosecurity detector dog, Zinta, uncovered the meat last week in a backpack of a passenger arriving from Indonesia.
Undeclared McMuffin may just be the best fictional band name since Jack Black’s Kathleen Turner Overdrive in High Fidelity.
In 2018 a woman was fined $500 and lost her global entry after taking an apple off of a Delta flight and failing to declare it, though she got the fine waived and global entry restored after contacting her congressional representative’s office.