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Departed Punta Cana airport today and my wife got flagged for a random security screening

Posted on 10/25/23 at 6:28 pm
Posted by auwaterfowler
Alabama
Member since Jan 2020
1898 posts
Posted on 10/25/23 at 6:28 pm
The Customs agent took us through a door and as we were walking asked if I could tip him, so I put $20 in his hand. He proceeds to lead us to the very front of the security line. Once through, she had to get her hands swabbed for what I assume was to test for drugs. No problems there, though I half expected to get asked for another “tip”. Is getting shaken down by Customs in Punta Cana a normal thing?
Posted by TheOcean
#honeyfriedchicken
Member since Aug 2004
42430 posts
Posted on 10/25/23 at 6:51 pm to
My buddy got caught with weed in the cancun airport (vape pen). Customs guy blocked the camera and signaled for him to put cash in the luggage. Let him go without any issues.

That's my big knock against Mexico -- the corruption
Posted by Teddy Ruxpin
Member since Oct 2006
39544 posts
Posted on 10/25/23 at 7:00 pm to
quote:

That's my big knock against Mexico -- the corruption


Sounds like a pro in this situation and not a knock.

Getting shook down when you did nothing wrong is awful.

Being able to grease a wheel for better service and convenience is awesome. Looking at you, Southeast Asia.
This post was edited on 10/25/23 at 7:01 pm
Posted by kciDAtaE
Member since Apr 2017
15642 posts
Posted on 10/25/23 at 8:08 pm to
Chances are it was a normal random screening. Not a shakedown. Perhaps your $20 got you ahead of some folks. Perhaps not.

No issues when I went to DR. And we looked like we should be the people that would get a “random” screening.

ETA…Why would you “pay-off” a customs agent if you weren’t doing anything illegal? Were you late for the flight?
This post was edited on 10/25/23 at 8:13 pm
Posted by Coater
Madison, MS
Member since Jun 2005
33052 posts
Posted on 10/25/23 at 8:42 pm to
PC airport is sketchy imo

Posted by TheDeathValley
New Orleans, LA
Member since Sep 2010
17128 posts
Posted on 10/25/23 at 11:41 pm to
Family and I are flying through PUJ in February. I’ll be sure to have a $20 handy.
Posted by auwaterfowler
Alabama
Member since Jan 2020
1898 posts
Posted on 10/25/23 at 11:50 pm to
quote:

Why would you “pay-off” a customs agent if you weren’t doing anything illegal? Were you late for the flight?


Not late for a flight. I know that bribes, or “tips”, are very common in the Caribbean in general, and I was a foreigner in their country who wanted to be able to get home as planned, so it was a pretty easy decision for me.
Posted by diat150
Louisiana
Member since Jun 2005
43423 posts
Posted on 10/26/23 at 3:26 am to
quote:

Sounds like a pro in this situation and not a knock. Getting shook down when you did nothing wrong is awful. Being able to grease a wheel for better service and convenience is awesome.


For sure
Posted by hoopsgalore
Chicago, IL
Member since Nov 2013
8629 posts
Posted on 10/26/23 at 6:52 am to
Something relatively similar happened to me leaving Punta Cana, but security swabbed my hands and took me to a back room. Pulled my checked luggage to search

Gate agent from United spoke good English and ended up coming back after about 20 minutes. Once everything was cleared up, basically got taken right through security.

Odd experience. Whatever.
This post was edited on 10/26/23 at 6:53 am
Posted by ColoradoAg03
Denver, CO
Member since Oct 2012
6105 posts
Posted on 10/26/23 at 9:16 am to
quote:

she had to get her hands swabbed for what I assume was to test for drugs


Explosive chemicals
Posted by HollierThanThou
Member since Jan 2012
6209 posts
Posted on 10/26/23 at 9:31 am to
$20 to skip the line?

I'm in.

The airport offers a VIP experience, basically get a lounge while everyone else goes through security, but its like $100 each way. You got off cheap imo because last trip through PUJ security was a shite show.
This post was edited on 10/26/23 at 9:33 am
Posted by cgrand
HAMMOND
Member since Oct 2009
38576 posts
Posted on 10/26/23 at 1:53 pm to
last time I flew out of CUN I tipped a guy 100 bucks and he took us and our bags from the curb all the way thru security and to the gate, basically without stopping

well worth it as I had a pretty good stash in my bag
Posted by MLU
Member since Feb 2017
1677 posts
Posted on 10/27/23 at 6:30 am to
Are you sure this was customs and not security? Sounds like you gave him $20 for nothing. The hand swabbing tests for explosive, incendiary chemicals. I used to see farmers set the alarms off all the time due to trace residue from fertilizers and chemicals they frequently come into contact with.
Posted by Napoleon
Kenna
Member since Dec 2007
69018 posts
Posted on 10/29/23 at 4:57 pm to
Just better hope you don't get four S's on your boarding pass. That's the mark of a pain in the arse day.
Posted by auwaterfowler
Alabama
Member since Jan 2020
1898 posts
Posted on 10/30/23 at 7:41 am to
She indeed had 4 S’s on her boarding pass.
This post was edited on 10/31/23 at 8:01 am
Posted by Saint Alfonzo
Member since Jan 2019
22104 posts
Posted on 10/30/23 at 8:11 am to
quote:

Just better hope you don't get four S's on your boarding pass. That's the mark of a pain in the arse day.

This has happened to me a few times.
Posted by riverdiver
Summerville SC
Member since May 2022
1134 posts
Posted on 10/30/23 at 10:47 am to
quote:

The hand swabbing tests for explosive, incendiary chemicals. I used to see farmers set the alarms off all the time due to trace residue from fertilizers and chemicals they frequently come into contact with.


We were flying out of Atlanta to Arizona about 12 years ago, we missed the flight because something in my 10 year old daughter’s makeup stuff triggered positive for some sort of explosives when they scanned her hands
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