browser icon
You are using an insecure version of your web browser. Please update your browser!
Using an outdated browser makes your computer unsafe. For a safer, faster, more enjoyable user experience, please update your browser today or try a newer browser.

How To Avoid An ‘Ambush’ By Customs Officers At Jakarta Airport

Posted by on 12 February 2011

If you are traveling to the Jakarta, the last thing you want to do is to be asked by Indonesian Customs to open up your luggage and endure a 100% check of your personal stuff and unmentionables.

The Preliminaries: Just before exiting Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, everyone must fill up a Customs Declaration Form and hand it over to a waiting Customs  officer. Even if you choose to go through the Green Lane (Nothing To Declare), you will be asked to put your hand-carried items ONLY through the luggage scanner.

The Ambush: Sometimes, out of the blue (or so it seems), the Customs officer on duty suddenly picks out random checked-in luggage (at least, it LOOKS random) and asks an unsuspecting traveler to put it through the luggage scanner.

The Nightmare: The Customs officer on duty might decide to ask you to open up your bag for a 100% check. And they might just find some silly reason to make things difficult for you and not let you go unless you give them some uang kopi (literally: coffee money).  I mean, we are all bona fide travelers here, right? With nothing to hide, right? We just don’t like being hassled, right? Right??

The Trick: To avoid such a predicament, the moment you take your bag off the luggage carousel,  do a quick visual check.  Look for small chalk marks, like the ones on my battered Samsonite bag in the pic below.

marked luggage (Jakarta airport)

Did you see the small mark on the front portion?  And a smaller second mark on the side? And that, Virginia, is THE mark that screams to the Customs officer “Check me!”.

The Solution: Should you notice such marks on your luggage, just act nonchalantly and take your luggage trolley to the toilet, conveniently located very close to the luggage carousels. Take a piece of toilet tissue, wet it, and wipe off the mark from your bag. Arrange your luggage (if you have several) on the trolley in such a manner so that the wet portion of your bag is not so obvious. Then walk past the Green Lane as confidently as possible.

May your trip to Jakarta be hassle-free. Good luck!

P.S. As Filipina expat WitsAndNuts commented, carton boxes are also a surefire way of attracting the attention of Customs officers. So do your best not to use them when packing your stuff.

13 Responses to How To Avoid An ‘Ambush’ By Customs Officers At Jakarta Airport

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *