Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
Crystal Tadlock thinks she was treated like a criminal.
No, not by Delta Air Lines. Perish the very idea.
Although, it all started as she was traveling back from Paris on Delta.
You see, shortly before landing in the U.S. on the first leg of her trip back, Flight Attendants handed out apples.
Tadlock told KDVR-TV in Denver that she didn’t want to eat it right then, but wanted to leave it for her connecting flight back to Denver.
She put it in her carry-on and seemed to think nothing more of it.
Until, that is, she was stopped by a U.S. Customs agent.
You can’t just bring foodstuffs into the country without declaring what you have.
Tadlock says she asked the agent whether she could just throw it away or eat it.
And then her version turned toward the sour.
“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,” she told KDVR.
Tadlock believes that Delta shouldn’t have given out apples or at least should have done more to warn passengers not to take the apples off the plane.
Of course, it’s hard to know what Delta did or didn’t say in this instance.
Most airlines remind landing passengers that undeclared agricultural products aren’t allowed into the U.S.
This rule embraces “meats, fruits, vegetables, plants, seeds, soil, animals, as well as plant and animal products (including soup or soup products).”
It’s there to (attempt to) prevent pests and diseases from entering the U.S.
I contacted Delta to ask whether such an announcement is normally made on its transatlantic flights.
An airline spokesman told me: “We encourage our customers to adhere to Customs and Border Protection policies and requirements.”
It’s possible that Tadlock forgot she had the apple — which was inside a Delta plastic bag.
Blaming Delta, however, doesn’t seem entirely fair.
As for the Customs agent, they tend — at least in my experience — to be fairly strict about anything they find.
I’ve seen people not only being fined, but also put on a blacklist, which has severe consequences should they re-offend. The fines can range up to $ 1,000.
Moreover, Tadlock fears she might lose her Global Entry status, something secured by those the authorities believe are low-risk travelers. Indeed, KDVR said it had been revoked.
Tadlock believes she should have received a lenient attitude because the agent could clearly see that the apple came from Delta.
Those of a drier persuasion might conclude that all the agent could really see was an apple in a plastic bag with a Delta logo on it.
They might also mutter that if Tadlock has Global Entry status, she must have traveled a little, so would be more likely to know the rules.
Moreover, everyone has to fill in a Customs form to present on landing.
She told KDVR that she knows the rules, but thought that the fact that the Apple came from Delta would exempt it from stringent enforcement.
Sometimes, you get unlucky.
And sometimes, you make a mistake and have to accept the consequences.