Automated passport scanners

Discussion in 'Air Canada | Aeroplan' started by YULtide, Jul 8, 2015.  |  Print Topic

  1. YULtide

    YULtide Gold Member

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    Re-entering the country in YYZ in May I had trouble with the automated passport scanner. I tried to get it to scan my passport two or three times and kept getting an error message that said it wasn't a Canadian passport. Eventually, I gave up and went to a human immigration officer, which proved faster than the process for my two colleagues with whom I was travelling.

    Fast forward to last week. I arrived in YVR and thought I would just go straight to a human instead of using the infernal machines, but was prevented from doing so by three CBSA personnel and forced to use the machines. Yup: it said I didn't have a Canadian passport. So I looked for the way to the human agent and was waylaid by one of the three agents who suggested I try another machine. Same result, so he said I was probably doing it wrong. So he tried and got the same result. Then saying that the machines were a bit finicky he tried again and this time it worked. Next to insert the customs declaration card. This took three attempts before it was accepted!

    Finally I was able to exit the machine zone where I had to show my customs receipt to an agent, and answer questions about what I had brought with me. The whole process took at least twice as long as queuing for a human agent would have taken. Grrrrrrr

    Anyone else have these troubles? How do I avoid the machines in future and get to see a human straight away?
     
  2. maradori
    Original Member

    maradori Silver Member

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    I forgot why I did it (maybe I was bored or something), but I have once queued up in the "non-citizen" line at YYZ and used my Canadian passport to enter the country. It took a while (line doesn't move fast + playing 20 questions with the CBSA officer) but I was let in no problem.

    Maybe it's just excellent timing, but almost every time I enter YVR, the non-citizen line was pretty much empty. If it's empty when you enter the country, maybe you can try that line out?

    If someone tries to direct you to the machines, try this excuse: "I am a Canadian citizen, but non-resident for tax purposes. I would like to enter Canada as a visitor to maintain this status, thank you".

    This excuse miiiiiiight work a bit better at YYZ though, since the signage says "Canadian Residents" (I think at YVR, the signage says "Canadian Passports and PR").

    For me, my biggest problem is that there are a few machines at YYZ where you feed it the customs card and it spits out a photocopy where the entire card is smeared black (wtf?)
     
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  3. YULtide

    YULtide Gold Member

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    Of course, when asked why you're using the foreigner queue one could always say to avoid the machines and preserve CBSA agent jobs. ;)

    I'll get a chance in YYZ in September.

    Bottom line for me is that these machines are not ready for prime time. I really like the machines in Hong Kong. But I have low tolerance for bad technology, especially with a user-hostile interface.
     
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  4. The Lev
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    The Lev Silver Member

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    I have but one answer: NEXUS.
     
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  5. slalom

    slalom Silver Member

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    Some of the Nexus GE machines don't seem to read my card....after 2 or 3 tries I just change machines.
     
  6. mevlannen
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    mevlannen Silver Member

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    Hmm, I've never tried sticking my card nor my passport into a NEXUS machine. Strictly eyeballs for me, thanks! (the machine, hopefully, lacks the capacity to actually ingest my eyeballs if there's a power-bump during the iris-scan).
     
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  7. tomh009
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    tomh009 Gold Member

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    The passport machines have been working for me, and seem to speed up the process significantly compared to the pre-machine queues at busy times.
     
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  8. milchap
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    milchap Gold Member

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    No ;problem using the passport machine.
     
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  9. The Lev
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    The Lev Silver Member

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    Sadly, the new machines require your card in addition to your eyeballs. But you don't actually "insert" a card into the bowels of the machine from which it may or may not be returned to you - you slide it in and can retrieve it manually.
     
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  10. mevlannen
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    mevlannen Silver Member

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    Ah, that's good, then, because with the old NEXUS machines.....

    I dimly recall my "Introduction to NEXUS" lecture at the Blaine border-crossing office, where the nice (but heavily-armed) border-trooper cautioned me that sometimes the machines would experience a brief power-bump, such as would cause them to permanently ingest one's card. He strongly recommended never taking that particular gamble, on account of the difficulty of replacement.
     
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  11. slalom

    slalom Silver Member

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    I just had my card replaced. It was pretty painless. Requested it on-line, paid a US$25 fee, and it was mailed to my home in less than 2 weeks
     
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  12. mevlannen
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    mevlannen Silver Member

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    Well, I do like the idea of easier replacement, since I so frequently find myself whipping it out to satisfy some or another demand for papers. Not sure it was meant to serve that purpose, back in the beginning, but that's what it is now.

    Air Canada relevance? Well, I surely do observe a fair proportion of SE100s using NEXUS cards as boarding ID. Great minds think alike, I suppose.
     
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  13. YULtide

    YULtide Gold Member

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    Personally, I just use a driver's license to board. No NEXUS necessary.
     
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  14. Geo
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    Geo Gold Member

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    YVR Nexus machines seem to be worse than other locations. I almost always have trouble with the machines on the left... not so much with the machines on the right. That said, you look like a doofus waiting for a right side machine to be available.
     

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