Woman Fined $500 For Carrying Free Airline Snack In Purse Through Customs

April 23, 2018
Airplane, Snack, Food, Package

(Photo via Dreamstime)

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While traveling on her way home from Paris, Crystal Tadlock, along with the other passengers on her Delta flight, received a free apple as a snack from the flight attendants.  She put the fruit in her carry on to save for the next leg of her journey.

Once she arrived back in the United States, and went through Customs, her bag was randomly chosen to be searched.  An agent removed the apple from her bag, and asked Tadlock if her trip had been expensive.  Tadlock told Fox 31 in Denver, "I said, 'yeah.'  I didn't really get why he was asking that question, and then he said 'It’s about to get a lot more expensive after I charge you $500.'"  

United States Customs Border & Protection requires that "all agricultural items must be declared," and since Tadlock didn't declare the piece of fruit, she faces a $500 fine, as well as losing her Global Entry Status, which allows pre-approved, low-risk travelers to have expedited clearance into the States.  Of course, Tadlock is frustrated with the incident, believing the flight crew shouldn't have passed out the snacks, or at the very least remind passengers not to take them off the plane.  And she also believes the CBP could have handled the situation a little differently since the apple was in an official Delta-sealed package.  She told Fox 31, "It's really unfortunate someone has to go through that and be treated like a criminal over a piece of fruit."

A statement from the CBP read "Prohibited items that are not declared by a passenger are confiscated and disposed of by CBP.  More importantly, civil penalties may be assessed for failure to declare prohibited agricultural products and may range up to 1,000 dollars per first-time offense for non commercial quantities.  If the items are determined to be for commercial use, violations will be assessed at a much higher rate."  Their website also confirms that "every fruit or vegetable must be declared to a CBP Agriculture Specialist or CBP Officer and must be presented for inspection."

A spokesperson from Delta also told Fox News, "We encourage customers to adhere to U.S. Customs and Border Protection policies and requirements."  Tadlock is planning on fighting the fine in court.

Via Fox News