Come on, JFK; get your head out of your airplane-sized asses. American Airlines Flight 1671 landed at JFK Friday night after leaving Cancun, Mexico, but kinda accidentally allowed a baker's dozen of foreign passengers to simply walk out of the airport without going through customs.
"Some passengers on Flight 1671 did not complete the immigration and customs process upon arrival when they were inadvertently directed to the domestic terminal," American Airlines said in a statement. Uh, yikes. American Airlines officials were then obligated to reach out to each and every one of the passengers to shake them down for stray flora & fauna. Interestingly enough, you're not advised to bring back rice from Mexico, "because rice can often harbor insects," reports the CBP website. Because that's what people smuggle on airplanes, of course.
"13 of the 76 passengers inadvertently exited through a domestic gate without going through customs," said U.S. Customs and Border Protection, clarifying a prior mistaken report of the number of passengers being closer 150. "Ten passengers have since been processed and the three who haven’t been are U.S. citizens," said spokesman Michael Friel, allowing us all to breathe a sigh of relief -- except for those who expected a sweet, illegal rice gift from Mexico.
ABC reports that "the snafu was attributed to an 'airline employee error' off the jetway, according to a source familiar with the matter."
Mayor de Blasio, on the other hand, is pretty steamed about the entire incident. “I’m very concerned," he said. "That is a very unusual incident, but it is absolutely unacceptable.” Not to say we shouldn't raise eyebrows at the snafu, especially considering the recent worldwide travel alert. It's safe to say someone working at JFK is about to get an extended holiday -- one that has nothing to do with Christmas.
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Jeremy Glass is a writer for Thrillist and hates everything about flying.