United Airlines Had To Track Down Passengers They Let Skip Immigration On Friday

Friday afternoon’s United Airlines flight from Dubrovnik to Newark was delayed about an hour and a half on departure. They made up some time in the air, but it took a lot longer for passengers to get out of the airport and home than they’d expected – and some probably missed connecting flights – because of a mistake made by an employee as the flight arrived back in the U.S.

Passengers were let off the aircraft and staff opened a door into the terminal instead of directing passengers to immigration and customs.

The mistake was caught quickly, and according to business class passenger on the flight Jeff Wimmer, the airline worked to “round up all of the people that headed off into the terminal.” Passengers were then held “until they figure out what to do next.”

With a large group of passengers cordoned off, staff began going through the manifest one passenger at a time, calling out names, asking people to identify themselves as present. Jeff Wimmer shared video:

According to a United Airlines spokesperson, “Five passengers were mistakenly deplaned into the terminal. They were quickly rerouted and underwent the proper CBP processing.”

United is hardly the only airline to have made this mistake. American Airlines let a plane full of passengers from Mexico skip immigration at New York JFK more than once in recent years.

In those cases passengers – who had left the airport and in several cases the state – were contacted and told they needed to return to the airport because everyone must clear customs and immigration at their arrival port.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Omg the horror! They showed passports before boarding but arrived without going through immigration!

    Meanwhile, in El Paso…..

  2. Why does it matter When the US has wide open Southern border with 190,000 people a month walking in and tens of thousands of unvetted Afghans pouri g in?

  3. The Dems are ok with a wide open southern border and also ok with un-vetted people flowing in from Afghanistan. A plane load of people bypassing immigration doesn’t even matter anymore.

  4. Trumpslugging Gary has decided he can get his brothers all riled up with this post about possible border crashing. How easy your little trolls jump at the offer.

  5. Hey Ray! So you are 100% OK with the southern border being wide open I see. Why? Explain yourself, or shut it

  6. Keeping partisan politics out of this–

    Our border controls could be made more efficient, and save a lot of taxpayer dollars, if we didn’t screen literally every arriving flight.

    California learned this at their agricultural inspection stations. The vast majority of cars are waved through without even a cursory inspection.

    Our government has an intelligence function. That should be used to pick and choose specific travelers to screen. Why make everybody stand in line?

  7. @Scott: suck my dick bitch, I shut it when I say, not some pos trumpboy. The Border Patrol is exactly the same. Nothing changed from your beloved red neck days, even your drunken rapist on the Supreme Court keeps them waiting in Mexico to be abused more while they wait for approval. Now get back to your Fox News crybaby. You lost the election. As you trumpbitcges said, elections have consequences.

  8. Ah poor Wesley, couldn’t hold back your racism could you? Your poor little elitist ego got bruised because I call out you Jackass Waterson fans? If that is the best you can throw at me, you fit the Trump voter mold.

  9. Hey Fred, she was sticking a dildo up your dad”a ass and he liked it. Gave birth to you from it. Of course your lame ass goes to sexually objectifying a family member. You have no skill.

  10. How original Fred. Took you long to come up with that after reading my comment? You probably plagiarized in elementary school too. Doubt you went any farther with your level of intelligence. “Pansy bitch”. Haha. You the tough boy sitting in mommy’s basement calling names. Classic right wing moron. But I am impressed all of you feeling so bad for each other you need to jump in and stick out your chests. Hope those 12 year old brides of yours are impressed. Maybe they will grab you a beer and sandwich as you scratch those tiny balls.

  11. “Our government has an intelligence function. That should be used to pick and choose specific travelers to screen. Why make everybody stand in line?”

    Ha! That lasts until they scream profiling. Then the government caves. We can’t have anyones feelings hurt.

  12. Why does everything have to be seen through a political lens? Can’t an issue stand on its own merits and be debated as such? The point of this story is an operational miscue at United and EWR. It has nothing to do with politics. Either stay on topic or leave this blog.

  13. It’s kind of funny that they mandated that they went back to customs. It’s basically an empty threat, an unenforceable one, and it’s impractical.

    Title 19 clearly requires the authority extends to the first practical stoping point (this is why a flight from CDG to JFK clears at JFK, otherwise the plane would have to land right on the border of Maine and Canada) AND that there was no material exchange.

    Once someone leaves the area, the nexus is gone. Besides, even if someone was smuggling goods, it isn’t like they are going to report back to the airport with their smuggled materials.

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