Would You Pay A $500 Fine For An In-Flight Airplane Apple You Got For Free?

Inspiration

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.

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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.

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.

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."

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 Her major grouse is that her Global Entry status, which guaranteed her faster check-in has been revoked.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.

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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.

In the meanwhile, some other commentators feel the best approach is to stop handing out food on international flights altogether. What do you think?

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.

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