We Left Cebu on a Wednesday Night
What happened was a shocker!
So, it has been a while I have left you hanging about our trip to the United States. I apologize, the problem is that I did not have a computer to use to write on! On my last article, I was using the PC in the business center of the hotel where we were staying, but the next day the computer was not working anymore.
So, when we arrived at Mactan Airport, the new international terminal, we were early, but that was our intention. We did not want to have any problems with our departure.
When the proper time came around, we headed up to the counter to check-in for our flight. There were 3 of us traveling, Feyma, Chris, and myself. As the agent was checking us in, another agent (supervisor?) came up behind him. They were speaking Cebuano, and probably thought I could not understand them, but I could. They were talking about a problem with one of our passports.
What kind of problem were we facing?
When I heard the agents talking, but not being specific, I asked them what the problem was (in Cebuano). They were kind of shocked that I could understand. I don’t think they were supposed to alert us to the problem, but they didn’t know what to do, so they told us.
“Sir, when we scanned your passport, a problem came up. You are wanted for questioning in the United States. They will take you aside when you arrive.”
Wow! Questioning for what?
For the next 21 hours, which is the amount of time between our departure and when we landed in the United States, I was worried. Nervous. Scared. What had I done that would require that I be questioned upon arrival?
Before leaving the USA, I had to have a background check by the police in order to get my resident visa in the Philippines. My record was clean. I have never been arrested for anything in my life. Since my record was clean upon departure, what was the problem now that I was going back? It really worried me. I called a few friends and discussed it with them, wondering if any of them could think of any problems I might be facing. One very close friend and I came up with a few possibilities, but nothing really bad. It just had me wondering for quite some time.
Layover at Incheon, South Korea
We had a short, 4-hour layover in Seoul, South Korea, and I was still wondering what was up. When it came time to board our flight to the USA, they scanned my boarding pass and red lights started flashing, and sirens were going off! OMG! What was going on now? I immediately figured that this was related to the “wanted for the questioning thing”, but it turned out that it wasn’t. I had simply been chosen for additional security screening.
So, I went through the additional screening, everything was smooth and easy, and I boarded the flight.
We arrive in Dallas
When we landed at DFW airport, it was time to face the piper. I would finally find out what I had done, or why I would be pulled aside for questioning. I was worried, as anybody would be. I had not figured out anything I had done wrong.
So, we to the Passport Control kiosk, and on to the counter where we would talk to a person. I tried to be very, very friendly. I told them “I am returning after nearly 20 years out of the country.” I wanted to see what their reaction was. Nothing. They were just curious but friendly. Not a problem, they just welcomed me home. Feyma had no problems. Then it was our son, Christopher’s turn. Boom. The agent called a supervisor because the computer had an alert. Apparently, the airline agents in Cebu thought I was Chris, not myself. LoL
When they looked at the computer screen concerning Chris it turned out to be very simple. When the airline agents in Cebu entered Chris’ name into the computer they did not put a space between his first and middle names. That is all it was. All of those hours of worrying and being nervous, and it turned out to be nothing.
Out into the wilds of DFW Airport
So, we finished at customs, got our luggage and headed out into the rest of DFW International Airport. We had a meal at Chick-Fil-A (which was delicious), and walked around the airport. We had a 7 hour layover, so we needed to kill some time.
Our time in Dallas was not what we thought it would be though. I’ll tell about that in my next article.