Whoops, AA & JFK Say They Forgot to Have Passengers Clear Customs AGAIN!

by Adam

Well, it’s happened again! Just two months after the last incident, American Airlines and US Customs and Border Protection have allowed passengers from an international flight to simply walk out of the airport without having their passports or luggage checked. Like the last time, the plane was incorrectly directed to a domestic gate. Passengers are now being forced to return to the airport in order to clear customs…no matter how far they’ve traveled since. According to the New York Daily News, AA is personally reaching out to the passengers:

“I apologize for any inconvenience this may be for you; however it is a Customs requirement that every passenger entering the United States must clear Customs,” the airline wrote in an email sent to passengers.

The incident occurred last Monday when AA flight 1223 from Cancun parked at a JFK gate that was set up for domestic arrivals (the JFK T8 gates are dual use and can handle both domestic and international arrivals). Interestingly enough, the last incident also involved a Cancun flight (AA 1671), perhaps AA / JFK officials think Cancun is part of the US.

One passenger told the NY Daily News that he informed CBP and TSA officials, but they told him it was fine and he should leave the airport:

I told them what happened and asked them what should I do,” the passenger said. “They said to me ‘That’s fine, you’re OK. Go ahead.’ ”

AA’s official statement:

“We take the safety and security of our customers, employees and operation very seriously,” the company said. “Some passengers on flight 1223 did not complete immigration and customs process upon arrival when they were inadvertently directed to the domestic terminal.”

CBP Website Pic

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Dave January 24, 2016 - 12:31 pm

Sodo passengers have to fly back to jfk or can they find their closest airport. I’m curious if AA covers this.

just me January 24, 2016 - 2:05 pm

“If”….sorry “when” this happens again….and American Airlines screws up…or any other airline for that matter….Unless the airline comps me a free plane ticket for another time and to pay my fare back to the airport….Don’t go back. They can’t MAKE you go back after you leave the airport. Airlines do stunts like this all the time. The airlines are to get fined if passengers do not clear customs. But the airlines cry to congress or the port director that they are being fined for doing stunts like this. So the fines get mitigated down to less than a 100.00 for an incident like this.

I'm Watching January 24, 2016 - 8:58 pm

I’m a resident and I flew in Saturday the 16th in a wheelchair my mom in a wheelchair both of us sick and the officer still find time to send me to the immigration room for what I really don’t no.Now look at these non residents walking off without been screened and clear customs shame on them but hey to each it’s own…God is the final judge not man.


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