The $500 Free Apple From Delta

Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw

A Colorado woman says U.S. Customs and Border Patrol wants to fine her $500 for a free apple.

Crystal Tadlock says she received the fruit from a Delta flight attendant near the end of her flight on her way home from a Paris vacation in Paris. She wasn’t hungry at the time, so she put it into her carry-on bag.

Tadlock’s bag was randomly searched as she went through customs. An agent pulled out the apple, which was still in a plastic pouch bearing the Delta logo.

“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 she’s frustrated with the situation. She thinks Delta shouldn’t have handed out apple, or at least warned pax not to take them off the plane. Tadlock said U.S. Customs clearly saw the apple was from an airline.

“It’s really unfortunate someone has to go through that and be treated like a criminal over a piece of fruit,” Tadlock told KDVR in an interview.

“I understand the laws and the Department of Agriculture doesn’t want certain insects in the U.S., but once again, the apple is from Delta. And I think that’s the most important part of this story,” Tadlock said.

Delta said in a statement, “We encourage our customers to follow U.S. Customs and Border Protection protocols.” Not helpful.

A spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Patrol said, “Privacy policy prohibits U.S. Customs and Border Patrol from discussing the details of any individual’s specific inspection, however, all agriculture items must be declared.” Again, not helpful. 

Bruce Parkinson

Bruce Parkinson Editor-in-Chief

An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Bruce uses the pre-dawn hours to prepare a daily news and information package to keep industry members up to date.

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