Would You Pay A $500 Fine For An In-Flight Airplane Apple You Got For Free?
Air transport is a very lucrative business in America and with more people flying each year, competition is very stiff. Most operators scramble for customers and will sell just about every creature comfort an airplane can offer.
Eva Cornejo Coba / Shutterstock.com
Occasionally lucky passengers even get bumped to first class, assuming they are not cajoled into paying for the upgrade. A poll by Reuters/Ipsos concluded that 83% of Americans say the price of a ticket is the most important factor when flying. Basically, the cheaper the flight, the better.
Fined $500 for an in-flight apple
When Crystal Tadlock decided to take a vacation to Paris, she had no idea she would end up paying dearly for it in the end. And it was no thanks to an apple.
False. I did not enjoy the apple. Instead I received a $500 violation, had my global entry revoked (first time I’ve used it) AND I will be searched on every flight for the rest of my life ????#deltaforbiddenfruit #crystaltadlock #delta #applegate pic.twitter.com/ysGfTguppG
— VeganQuesoHead (@VeganQuesoHead) April 22, 2018
During a random search at the airport in Minneapolis by US border agents, an apple was found on Tadlock. The offending fruit was in a clear plastic bag. Apparently, it was part of the in-flight refreshment on her connecting Delta Air Lines flight to Denver.
Delta representative confirmed they distribute France apples on their flight pic.twitter.com/Hw4KmyjB9f
— VeganQuesoHead (@VeganQuesoHead) April 23, 2018
According to Tadlock, she told the agent where the fruit came from and asked if she should eat it or just throw it away. Instead, the agent simply handed her a fine of $500. She told KDVR-TV;
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'.
Delta Air Lines is unapologetic
A representative of Delta Air Lines, while speaking with CBS in Denver, said, "We encourage our customers to follow US Customs and Border Protection protocols. The apple in question was part of an in-flight meal meant to be consumed on the aircraft."
— VeganQuesoHead (@VeganQuesoHead) April 21, 2018
Tadlock has suggested that she will appeal the fine in court as she feels the imposition was not justified. Her major grouse is that her Global Entry status, which guaranteed her faster check-in has been revoked. Now, she will be subjected to regular checks like most travelers.
"It's really unfortunate someone has to go through that and be treated like a criminal over a piece of fruit," Ms. Tadlock added.
Before the incident, Tadlock was a frequent flyer to France. She started visiting the country often after she won a tour to the Grey Goose vodka castle in Paris.
She is not the only one
After Tadlock shared her story, other frequent travelers have reacted with similar stories. Furthermore, some commentators were unsympathetic as they reminded Tadlock of US Customs declaration forms which require Meat and Animal Products to be declared.
Same happened to me in jan this year arriving in NZ, forgot id been given an apple two days ago on our first flight over. first experience of NZ me sitting down at 03.00 wed [having had no sleep since sun crying my eyes out after being treated like some criminal.
— theresa cloake (@TheresaCloake) April 24, 2018
This is exactly what happened to me on a United flight into Chicago. I simply forgot to declare a banana that was given to me by the United flight attendant. The results? I lost my Global entry and have since been harassed every time I have flown back to the US.
— Raoul Quintero (@MDSunshine) April 24, 2018
#UScustoms are crazy! I got stopped, interviewed and delayed for a 3 day 'overstay' 20 yrs previous! When they did not stamp my passports showing a return trip to canada! Overstay = VIOLATION of visa waiver programme 4 LIFE. Now I need a holiday visa every time i touch US soil!
— Kerry Hales (@Kerry_Hales) April 24, 2018
Hi, thanks for following up with us. We apologize fort the disappointing experience. Please see this link for more information about bringing food into the US: https://t.co/pmjf2k1OAa *HKC
— Delta (@Delta) April 23, 2018
In the meanwhile, some other commentators feel the best approach is to stop handing out food on international flights altogether. What do you think?
Nobody to blame but yourself. pic.twitter.com/6Hal7U7dB6
— Angie Smith (@SuthernZenDoula) April 24, 2018
It is highly advisable that all forms and signs at the airport be read and understood to avoid incidents like this. Tadlock may be getting off easy and even is she isn't, taking the matter to court may not be an easy solution.
Act Of Kindness: Cop Drives 84-Year-Old Man To Hospital So He Can Visit Ailing Wife