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Beware of Delta employees bearing gifts. That appears to be the lesson one Colorado woman learned after she was fined $500 by a Customs and Border Protection agent for entering the US with an apple that had been given to her by a Delta flight attendant.
According to KDVR-TV in Denver, Crystal Tadlock was flying home to the US from Paris, France (CDG) on Delta when, toward the end of the flight, the airline’s flight attendants passed out fresh apples in plastic bags to passengers. Since Tadlock wasn’t hungry, she put the apple in her carry-on bag with the intention of eating it during her onward connecting flight to Denver (DEN).
However, upon landing in the US and proceeding through immigration, a US customs agent discovered the apple in Tadlock’s bag. Undeclared agricultural products are not allowed to be brought into the United States.
“He had asked me if my trip to France was expensive and 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,'” Tadlock told KDVR-TV.
Tadlock explained to the customs agent that the apple had been handed to her by a Delta employee — the plastic bag containing the apple had a Delta logo on it — and asked if she could throw it out or eat it. But the customs agent refused and issued her the fine.
On top of the costly fine, Tadlock is also potentially in danger of losing her Global Entry membership. Continued access to Global Entry requires obeying all immigration laws and the terms of the program, and other travelers have found themselves banned from Global Entry for life for identical offenses. The Global Entry Information Guide (warning: PDF file) specifically notes that “if you violate any condition of Global Entry or any law or regulation of the U.S., officers may revoke your Global Entry privileges.”
While passengers are responsible for being aware of the items in their possession during travel, Tadlock says she thinks Delta shouldn’t have passed out apples on an international flight, or should have at least reminded passengers not to take the apples with them. A spokesperson for Delta said in a statement regarding the incident that “we encourage our customers to follow U.S. Customs and Border Protection protocols.”
Featured image by Tatna Maramygina / EyeEm via Getty Images.
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