Apple, undeclared, customs, border protection, $500 fine, airport, airline

Wacky Wednesday: The Very Expensive Airline Apple

When you hear about someone getting in trouble for stealing an apple, you imagine that they must have stolen an iPhone or a Mac. You don’t generally picture someone getting in trouble for taking an apple from an airline that was free in the first place. However, that’s what happened to a woman named Crystal Tadlock, who was flying in from France and was going to be landing in Minneapolis and then heading on to Colorado.

Customs and Border Patrol – America’s Last Line of Fruit Defense

Most people have heard before that you are not supposed to enter the country with vegetables or fruits. However, it is also something that many people tend to forget, particularly when they are on a long flight. Delta, the airline she was flying with, gave her the apple while she was on the flight. Though she did not consume the apple on the flight, she did save it, thinking that she would eat it on the next flight before getting home to Colorado.

When she tried to come into the airport, she was stopped by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer, who searched her bag. When the officer found the bag with the apple, they reportedly asked Tadlock whether the trip to France had been expensive. As soon as she replied that it had indeed been expensive, he told her that it was going to get even more expensive after he charged her $500 for the apple. The heroes at the inspection point also would not simply let her throw the apple away or eat it. They issued a citation for $500 and then revoked her global entry status.

While there are rules against bringing agriculture into the United States from foreign countries, it might have been nice to be let off with a warning, considering that it was relatively harmless. However, the rules are in place for a reason, and it is important to know and follow them if you do not want to be subject to hefty fines. According to Customs and Border Protection, the fines for agriculture that is not declared by the passenger can be as much as $1,000, even for a first time offense. If you look at it from that perspective, then Tadlock was let off easy with just a $500 fine.

If You Are Traveling

No matter where you are traveling in today’s world, it is very important that you take the time to learn all of the rules and legal requirements when you are bringing anything into a foreign country or back into your own country. Make it a part of your trip planning, so that you do not end up having to pay a large fine for something that you were unaware of.

It might also be nice for airlines to remind passengers of some of these simple rules before they disembark, which could help to save them from problems when they are dealing with the customs agents.