Which Country Are International Airports In?
Articles Blog

Which Country Are International Airports In?

August 22, 2019


This Wendover Productions video was made possible
by Hover. Get 10% off your custom domain or email from
Hover with the code “Wendover” at checkout. So here’s the question: let’s say you
hop on a plane from New York to Amsterdam then transfer onto a plane to Cape Town, South
Africa. Upon arrival in Amsterdam, passengers just
pop out into the terminal and then reboard the next plane. You never would have gone through passport
control, so which country were you in during your connection? The simple answer is the Netherlands, but
you weren’t in the same Netherlands as people in downtown Amsterdam. The international zone of airports is part
of the country in which it is physically located, more or less. It almost operates as a separate country because
a border control agent would say you weren’t in the Netherlands but a police officer would
say you were. You were in the Netherlands in a legal sense
but not in an immigration sense. This can create complications. Chinese citizens, for example, don’t need
a visa to transfer from one flight to another through Amsterdam Schiphol Airport but they
do need a visa to enter the Netherlands. If a Chinese citizen without a visa commits
a crime in Amsterdam Airport that crime must be tried Dutch court, but if they don’t
have a visa the Chinese offender can’t legally enter the Netherlands. The country therefore has the rather amazing
ability to create a floating international zone around the Chinese Citizen—no matter
where they go, they are not in the Netherlands even if they are walking down the streets
of Amsterdam. They will never have gone through passport
control or had their passport stamped but they’ll still be in the Netherlands physically. Of course, though, they’ll always be in
the captivity of police officers. The question of what country you’re in in
airports can get a little more complicated thanks to the USA. The US operates a unique system of customs
pre-clearance facilities at a number of airports and some train stations and ports around the
world. Essentially, when flying from Dublin to New
York, for example, you clear US customs in Dublin so that once you arrive in New York
you can immediately walk strait out of the airport with no further checks just like a
domestic traveller. So, once you pass through US customs in Ireland
you’re in the US in an immigration-sense, but here’s where it gets tricky. You’re in the US, but you’re not on US
soil. Irish laws still apply past US customs in
Dublin airport. Of course, there are exceptions. The US border agents working the facility
are, on the other hand, subject to US laws despite being in Ireland. They are essentially treated like diplomats. Crime is pretty rare in airports so this doesn’t
normally cause problems, but consider this. There’s a pre-clearance facility in Abu
Dhabi Airport in the United Arab Emirates…. where homosexuality is illegal and can be
punished with fines, prison time, or worse. That means that if you got a little frisky
past US customs in Abu Dhabi Airport, you could technically be arrested while in the
US for being gay. Of course this would never happen because
it would create a diplomatic incident of monumental proportions, but the point is that it could
happen. Speaking of diplomacy, more jurisdictional
fuzziness comes with the United Nations headquarters in New York. The territory this building is on is technically
international territory—not part of the US. In general US laws apply, but the UN can,
at their own discretion make their own laws that trump US law. For example, the UN headquarters in New York
is allowed to issue stamps and run their own postal service for its employees—something
that would be illegal in the US. There are more ways to visit countries without
going through immigration. Back in the 40’s, Russia and Estonia re-drew
their border and ended up making a bit of a peninsula of Russia jutting out into Estonia
between the towns of Lutepää and Sesniki. As a part of the Soviet Union, it wasn’t
a problem for Estonia to build the road between the two villages through the peninsula since
the borders were rather porous. When the Soviet Union fell, though, the border
became one of the most guarded in the world and therefore Sesniki was cut off from the
rest of Estonia. So, Russia decided to allow cars to drive
the short route with no border controls, no paperwork, nothing as long as they don’t
stop. Border agents watch cameras at both ends to
make sure that any car that goes in one end comes out the other and sends in agents if
a car takes too long, but this road allows individuals to visit one of the most guarded
countries on earth without a visa or even a passport. Despite the US’ affinity for large walls,
secure borders, and heavily armed agents, you can legally visit the US without passing
through border controls or immigration. As the longest international border in the
world, there are actually quite a few unguarded border crossings on the US-Canada border,
but when crossing one you are still required to self-report to the nearest border patrol
station, with one exception. Hyder, Alaska has the unique distinction of
being the only town in the southern half of Alaska’s panhandle to be connected to the
outside world by road. That is, though, because it in directly across
the border from Canada. Given that, the only roads into Hyder come
from Canada and you can’t drive anywhere in the United States from Hyder. There are therefore no US border controls
when passing into Hyder and there’s no requirement to self-report to a border patrol station. There is, however, a Canadian border control
station when passing back into Canada from Hyder meaning you could accidentally cross
into the US without a passport and get stuck. Hyder is essentially a Canadian town stuck
in Alaska. The residents unofficially use the timezone
of British Columbia rather than Alaska, use Canadian dollars, have Canadian phone numbers,
and use Canadian fire and ambulance services. Perhaps most interesting, however, is that
you need a passport to travel to the United States from Hyder. While it doesn’t have an airport, it does
have a seaplane base with regularly scheduled commercial flights to Ketchikan, Alaska. Even though this flight is fully within the
same country and state, upon arrival in Ketchikan all passengers are sent through US customs. It makes sense—the reason Hyder doesn’t
have US customs in is because there’s no way to get out to the rest of the US—but
this flight is the only time that you need a passport to travel from one part of the
US to another. Now for the grandaddy of “which country
am I in,” questions. Which country are you in while in a plane. Let’s say you’re flying in an Irish registered
airplane from Paris over Canada to New York. Are you in Ireland, France, Canada, or the
United States? This gets super complicated. According to immigration law, you’re not
in any country, just like in an International Airport even though you are physically in
the sovereign territory of Canada. Each country sets its own upper limit to its
sovereignty above earth, but all countries have their limit above the altitude at which
planes fly. From a legal view, however, within that plane
you could be in Ireland, France, Canada, and the United States all at once. Jurisdiction for crimes committed in the air
gets really fuzzy. Depending on their own laws, each country
could prosecute the same crime. Most of the time the laws that apply are those
of the aircraft’s country of registration—Ireland in this case—but assuming the plane continued
to its final destination in the US, the arresting officers for a crime would be US police and
therefore, unless another country claimed jurisdiction, the trial would take plane in
the US under US law since the plane landed in the US. However, Canada could also claim jurisdiction. In 1988 Pan Am flight 103 was brought down
by terrorists over Lockerbie, Scotland. Of course jurisdiction was a huge issue especially
considering the suspects were Libyan, but in the end the trial was held in a Scottish
court under Scot law. Since it was overflying Scotland and therefore
in Scottish territory when the plane was brought down, they got jurisdiction, however, for
complicated diplomatic reasons relating the extradition of the suspects, the trial was
actually held in an old US Air Force Base in the Netherlands that was temporarily ceded
over to Scotland. The rather disappointing answer to which country
you’re in when flying is that it depends. Countries will just claim or ignore their
jurisdiction depending on convenience. In the end, the only way to find out might
just be to hop on a flight and commit a crime. This video was made possible by Hover. Hover is by far the easiest, best, and often
the least expensive way to buy your custom domain or email. There’s just so much to love about them. When you call customer support, this happens. [insert audio.] They just pick up and answer your question—no
holding, no phone trees, it’s that simple. While I’ve bought plenty of domains from
Hover, what I’ve recently started to use Hover for is email. Using a custom domain, such as Wendover.Productions,
you can add an email for as low as $5 per year which gives you a superbly professional
and unique web presence. I just set up a new personal email through
Hover, [email protected] which you can feel free to email me at, especially with
questions about Hover, and I’ll do my best to respond. You can buy your custom domain and email from
Hover with 10% off by going to hover.com/Wendover and using the code “Wendover” at checkout. Hover has been a wonderful supporter of Wendover
Productions and they truly do run a fantastic service so please go at least check them out
and if you decide to buy, once again, go to hover.com/Wendover and use the code “Wendover”
for 10% off. If you haven’t already, please check out
my new podcast called Showmakers where we have guests like Hank Green, Smarter Every
Day, Vsauce3, and more, check out my last video here, and subscribe to this channel
to receive all my future videos right when they come out. Thanks for watching and I’ll see you in
two weeks for another Wendover Productions video.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Hope you enjoy this video!

    Please be sure to check out the sponsor, Hover, since they truly make the show happen (link is in the description.)

    Also, if you like Vsauce3 with Jake Roper, make sure to subscribe the the channel Showmakers (our podcast, link is in the description) since we have an episode with him releasing soon!

  2. The one in gold coast is split in half. Part of both states. New south wales and queensland.
    So it should be called an interstate airport.

  3. I am an Australian and travelling on air mauritius on way to Madagascar where i would get my visa and had a night and half day stopover in Mauritius. I was allowed to leave hotel and walk around Mauritius without a visa! I definitely was in Mauritius!

  4. My mum has a friend who lived in Lockerbie and she said parts of the plane landed in her Garden, as well as bodies.

  5. Dude why does everyone think Libyans commit crimes I'm libyan and I do not commit crimes in the air or the ground

  6. So, if a plane is flying over Saudi Arabia and I drink a glass of wine with my meal, would I be committing a crime since Alcohol is illegal in the country I'm flying over ?

  7. So if you’re flying on emirates from Dubai to Australia, and you kissed your partner, you could be arrested in Australia for PDA? Confusing.

  8. That’s is not entirely correct about pre-clearance at Dublin airport. You go through US Immigration pre clearance in Dublin, not customs. People still have to clear customs when they land in the USA.

  9. Pan Am Flight 103 was brought down over Lockerbie, Scotland on December 21, 1988 and not 1998 as you mentioned.

  10. i shall take your closing advice and direct the arresting authorities, of what ever country, to your video 🙂

  11. wait…so a filipino man can go to china unregistered? and there is a bubble around him? 🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔

    so..I INVADED CHINA!!!1111!!!1

  12. wife :i want to tour many countries

    husband : lets board a french flight from japan to uk via southafrica

  13. well, every country around like Latvia, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Russia (of course) has international airport but mine – Estonia.

  14. 5:30 If this USPS agency did ever get out of service, you could be royally screwed if you ever had the misfortune of being born in Hyder.
    It ought to be the sole Passport Acceptance Facility in the town, and without it, you would be absolutely stuck there without a way to legally get out.

    This is not something to be joked about. Some people living in enclaves along the India-Bangladesh border experienced it before those having been sorted out, with the added hurdle of not being able to cross the border even if they have a valid passport because both countries did not allow one's citizen to pass the border.

  15. 7:40 UK not Scotland British law not Scottish British territory not Scottish ceded to the UK temporarily not to Scotland

  16. Sacramento named their municipal airport International. How pathetic is that? It is not an International Airport.

  17. now i really want to commit a crime in an international airport in another country just so i can be in that bubble of weirdness. i totally never would though because i'm the type of person who constantly reprimands my friends for something as simple as biking on the sidewalk

  18. I thought people who live in US and Canada each go to another can without border controls because of two countries are friendly

  19. What if an Italian mother that’s 8 months pregnant and a German father get on a french plane at a Spanish airport and she has a kid while flying over the Swiss border does that baby get 5 citizenships?

  20. So I can hijack a plane and get away with it?
    *Looks at world trade center* "Noice"

  21. I do not know if somebody stated things, but their is a U.S.A customs entry in Ottawa, Canada airport.

  22. I was faced with this question when I was denied an alcoholic beverage as a 20 year old on a United flight between Germany and the US, even though I was used to legally drinking on Lufthansa flights on the same route since I was 16.

  23. Pan Am Flight 103 was a regularly scheduled Pan Am transatlantic flight from Frankfurt to Detroit via London and New York. On 21 December 1988,

  24. It's like the when travelling by road or train from France to the UK and vice-versa, you pass UK immigration in France, so you are now in the UK while technically still on French soil, and vice-versa.

  25. So if you are traveling to the us from Dublin or Shannon airports you go through customs in Ireland but If you are going from Cork airport you go through it when you get there? (P.S. Cork, Dublin and Shannon are Ireland's international airports)

  26. Here we go again: American English being thrashed again…! The correct grammar for the title sentence would be: "In which country are International airports.?"

  27. THANK YOU for calling it 'The Netherlands' instead of 'Holland' that's just two provinces and a lot of people don't get that. You do and I'm thankful.

  28. Remember everybody if you hop on a flight and commit a crime make sure you see this YouTube channel first telling you to do so

  29. So, what laws to airlines have to obey? As an example:

    Air New Zealand's flight from London to Auckland makes a stop in Los Angeles. The drinking age in England is 18, the drinking age in New Zealand is also 18, but the drinking age in the US is 21. What's the drinking age on the flight from London to LA?

  30. I'm a Canadian and LOVE using US Pre-clearance at Canadian airports as it makes things so much easier. Upon arrival in Las Vegas, i get off the plane and get my gambling, drinking and partying on.

  31. Hang on if you give birth to a baby mid flight on a British Registered plane over American soil with French parents what country would be on the baby’s birth certificate?

  32. Ok how about this. You are a child born to Chinese parents in a plane registered to Spain in unclaimed waters over the Atlantic Ocean. What nationality are you?

  33. America! Fuck yeah! ‘Comin again to save the motherfucking day yeah! America! Fuck yeah! Freedom is the only way yeah!
    Terorists your game is through, ‘cause now you have to answer to…
    America! Fuck yeah! So lick my ass and suck on my balls! America! Fuck yeah! ‘Watcha ‘gonna do when we come for you now!
    It’s the dream we all share. It’s the hope for tommorow. (Fuck yeah!)

  34. Interesting little realization of this: When I would fly to Germany when I was 18 if I asked for wine in English they denied me. But if I asked in German they would serve me. They flight crew was instructed to follow German drinking law with Germans and American law with Americans.

  35. what friggin nonsense! birds and butterflies can fly in any country without visas but humans have to pay the price.

  36. ;. You know? What if HKong KEK's decide democraticlly that all political refugees from China mainland can come to HKong. You know, democratic and persecuted forces. Falong gong members, Oeigoers (for muslims I think they are pretty well behaved. I met refugees in Holland. Very quiet, very grateful people, small and easygoing), people fleeing from N-korea',

    You know, people with a grudge for Beijing-cuckery, and willingness to stand togehter on this last one of all Crusades.

    Who knows, at least that is what I would decide for the camera's of all msm. Then China has to invade, on camera, Kekistan EastCoast all the time when their feelings got hurt, by somebody with a different opinion, boohoo boehoo Chinese Beijing-Cuks, boohooo.

Leave a Reply

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