That Special Moment When The Border Officer Says…

You are going to have to help me out here because this makes no sense at all!”

As a Global Entry participant, I have not had to speak with a US CBP officer at Passport Control in several years. While it is always a nice feeling reentering the US, being able to just blitz through the immigration/passport control/customs process is even better. Sure, I no longer get the “Welcome back the US” but I am willing to deal without it.

Read more: Guide To Global Entry

I do deal with border officers when I leave/return to the EU, but that is normally not an issue at all.

However, I had that interesting moment with a border officer the other day in London. Here was the exchange:

Officer: Where did you come from?

Me: Abu Dhabi

Officer: How long will you be in the UK?

Me: Just for the day

Officer: How long were you in Abu Dhabi?

Me: Just a few hours – I was connecting from another flight.

Officer: Where were you flying from?

Me: Greece

Officer: Where will be flying to today when you leave London?

Me: Greece

Officer (looks up and with a long pause): Sooooo, what? When did you leave Greece?

Me: Yesterday

Officer: You flew from Greece to Abu Dhabi to London – staying for a few hours – and flying back to Greece? All in two days? Okay, you are going to have to help me out here because this makes no sense at all!

Me: Actually, it does. I live in Greece, I had to take care of a couple of things in London and I chose to fly here through Abu Dhabi so I could sample their new airplane cabin from Abu Dhabi to London. I write a travel blog and I like to try new cabins and review them for readers.

Officer (just stares at me for a long 30 seconds with me smiling back at him): Hmmph (stamps my passport)

Me: Thank you, sir!

This used to happen to me on some mileage runs that I took internationally and also during my 5 marathon/5 continent/ 5 day challenge. With the US officials, it is always a little easier to explain about the miles and points given every airport has signs and advertisements for the airline cards and programs. With foreign officials, it can always be a little interesting.

But, it was fun to get another situation like the one with the British officer to remind me that some of the things we do in this hobby just do not make sense. I mean, who flies a $6,000 flight to spend the afternoon in London – and flies 4 hours out of the way to do even that?! 🙂 Hey, to fly the Etihad Apartments, it was worth it and fun! Post about the Etihad Apartment experience coming soon!

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • I had that moment returning to the US on Sunday. I take care of all the details when we travel but I let my husband deal with the agents. I don’t like all the questioning and like to avoid any additional stress. My husband looked at me and said “he said you need a notarized letter to take her out of the country” referring to my niece. Guess I need to do this myself too because either my husband or niece could have said she was 18!

  • You did help him out and everything made sense — though you didn’t pay close to $6000 for that flight! 😉

  • Explaining to the Customs officer in Detroit why I was in Seoul for 2 days was fun. I even got a private conversation in the back room with Officer Happy. #nonrevproblems