Saturday, February 11, 2006

Customs Declaration

I'm always scrupulously honest in claiming things when I pass through customs, whether I'm on vacation or working an international flight.  My job depends on it.

During my time out of the country, I keep a little notebook listing of what I'm buying to take home with me, along with the cost.  I keep track of things that are exempt, or make a note if I need to check on that further.

I keep informed about what can and cannot be brought back into the country, and avoid buying things that I know will be a problem.  It's not worth the risk of trying to "get something in."

When it comes time for me to fill out my customs declaration it's easy.  I list the dollar amount that I'm claiming, present the form along with my passport to officials, and I breeze on through.  Occasionally I'll get a random question or two.  Usually it's something along the lines that I'm not spending enough money on my layovers, which is always accompanied by a hearty laugh from the officials.  It's all very quick, organized and efficient.

I can't understand why people are willing to take the risk of not declaring something -- which is actually smuggling.  I'm not willing to take the risk of being detained in customs or having my property confiscated, let alone facing the possibility of a stiff fine or arrest and criminal proceedings. 

So I ask myself, what was this woman thinking bringing a human head (with teeth, hair and skin) into the US?  She was arrested and charged with smuggling a human head without proper documentation, among other charges.  (Which raises another question -- What is the proper documentation for bringing in a human head?)

Thanks to Astroprof for forwarding the article all about it while I was out traveling. 

Technorati Tags : ,


JoeyC said...

Just curious... what did she declare the amount of money for the head?

Has it been in her posession the whole time?

Astroprof said...

I guess that you've seen people try to bring all sorts of things onto the aircraft. But a head ?

Fly Girl said...

Joey: I don't think it was about claiming a value on the head, but more about declaring that you were bringing onboard. Human body parts are considered hazardous material and have to be declared.

Astroprof: Nope, this is one that hasn't happened to me!

Traytable said...

Ha, if you're ever in Oz, go to the Quarantine hq, they have some interesting stuff brought in...

you know the beagle dogs AQIS use can smell 1/200th of a portion of plant matter, in a plastic bag insude like 20 other bags?! Amazing!!

The biggest trend in the late 80's was the South Africans trying to smuggle biltong... they'd line the suitcases with it to avoid the x-ray showing different colour gradations... apparently the quality of biltong available here just wasn't good enough! Haha!

"omis" said...

I'm always honest on my crew-dec, and I've never been taxed for going over the duty free allowance on booze.

Honesty really is the best policy, customs agents hate attempts to deceive!