You may have seen this in the news last month as it created quite a stir in the travel community. In case you didn’t, a Delta passenger, Crystal Tadlock, was entering the US after a flight from Paris.
Passenger’s $500 Fine for Apple Removed and Global Entry Restored
The Original Apple Story
She was randomly selected at customs to have a search done of her bags (yes, this happens to Global Entry customers as well!) As the CBP agent was going through her bag, he found a plastic-wrapped apple with the Delta logo on it. According to Tadlock, “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 said.
While you can bring many things into the US after a trip abroad, food is one of the things you need to declare at customs before entering. Failure to declare the required items at customs can have a fine assessed by CBP. In this case, it was a $500 fine for the apple and, even worse, the revocation of Cystal’s Global Entry status. Yes, that would hurt a lot!
Big Fines Possible
When it comes to produce, there are laws governing what can be brought in and from which countries. Again, failure to follow those laws can result in up to a $10,000 fine. Each passenger has the responsibility to understand those laws and to abide by them.
I can say, though, as a Global Entry user that it can be easy to forget those laws when we are flying through the touchscreen after a long flight back to the US. CBP has that helpful “No to All” button that eliminates the need for us to having to press “NO” to the different boxes asking if we are bringing in anything that needs to have been declared or if we have been near farms, etc. But, it is still up to us to remember these things and to answer truthfully!
The Final Resolution
Fortunately, a congressman, Ed Perlmutter (serving Colorado’s 7th congressional district) met with CBP on Crystal’s behalf. He felt the incident was handled in a bit of an excessive manner since this was a wrapped apple from Delta (but he agrees with the rules about bringing produce to the US). As a result of this meeting, the CBP officials dropped the $500 fine and reinstated Crystal’s Global Entry status.
I am glad that this ended up this way. For sure, it was Crystal’s responsibility to remember the rules but there are times that we forget about what things we stash in our bags during a flight, especially a long one. I cannot tell you how many times I get ready to go through security checks for a connecting flight after arriving in the US and I find I forgot to take out a can of soda or a bottle of water I had from the flight. It happens!
But, I think that Crystal and the rest of us will use this situation to be more aware of these kinds of things on our next international flights. As strict as the US may be on some things like food, there are countries that are much more strict that may take even greater action.
Make sure you are aware of the laws for what foods you can bring into a country when traveling!
Source: Fox31 News