Kennedy Airport Allows Another International Flight To Skip Customs

Transportation_Security_Administration_Logo.svg250px-SeaTacTerminalSecurityStories of this kind leave me baffled. With all of the money and harsh measures imposed on the public by the Transportation Security Administration, the TSA itself seems barely accountable for continual stories of bungling and gross negligence. Recently, it was revealed that an international flight was allowed to simply go directly from the aircraft to the streets without passing through customs. People were horrified. Now it has happened again with American Airlines Flight 1223 from Cancun, Mexico and one passenger even alerted the TSA at the time and was told to just leave with the rest of the passengers from Mexico. The only reassuring thought is that any drug mule or terrorist would have assumed that this was a trick since no one is this dumb.

According to reports, one passenger approached a Transportation Security Administration agent near the exit, but was told he was free to go. He told the media that “I told them what happened and asked them what should I do . . . They said to me ‘That’s fine, you’re OK. Go ahead.’”

Now, again, passengers are being asked to return to the airport. Are passengers supposed to repack their bags for the most meaningless bag searches. Just for the record: we give TSA roughly $8 billion a year.

38 thoughts on “Kennedy Airport Allows Another International Flight To Skip Customs”

  1. Ok, here are the two incorrect statements to which Nick and I were responding:

    “Since when is TSA responsible for searching people after they get off the plane? “

    “Listen up, people. TSA is not responsible – even if Professor Turley thinks so. TSA checks people GOING.
    Customs checks people coming IN.“

    Our responses were:

    “there are cases where TSA does indeed check all incoming international passengers (after immigration and customs). I hold up Atlanta as the poster child of this procedure. There may be others. “

    “I had to go through TSA returning from Italy in 2014 and Mexico in 2015. Italy I went through ORD and Mexico through MKE. So, it’s not just ATL.”

    We both admitted it is not a procedure used at all airports but it is used whenever people are forced to enter a sterile environment (ie, post security) after going throuigh Immigration and Customs (CIS).

    [randyjet said, “The FACT is that TSA does NOT control passengers leaving the airport” which is true, but all four quotes above are not about leaving the airport but rather about leaving CIS, and thus not relevant to this argument. I’ll ignore the other problems with his post, they also being irrelevant. ]

    The Atlanta airport has a unique situation where CIS is located in both Concourses E and F (the only places where international flights which have not already undergone CIS arrive).

    Concourse F has direct access to the street and thus after clearing CIS those leaving the airport are sent directly to the unsterile zone. They do not have to undergo TSA.

    However, Concourse E is sort of landlocked in that the entire concourse and all entrances/exits are in the sterile zone. The only connection to one of the two terminal buildings is through an underground passageway which connects all seven concourses and both terminals.

    It is NOT possible to exit CIS in Concourse E and proceed directly to a non-sterile zone. Everyone clearing CIS in E, therefore, MUST go through TSA and then enter the sterile zone. From there, they can proceed either to any other gate or to either airport exit (international or domestic terminal exits where, as randyjet noted, TSA is not involved).

  2. The FACT is that TSA does NOT control passengers leaving the airport. It is the responsibility of US Customs and Immigration, NOT TSA. When I was flying for the airlines, we got our gate assignment from our ground control, and in the case of international flights, we knew we had to go to the Customs area and then get our gate assignment after the pax had left. One of our pilots was coming in from London, Canada and forgot to go to the Customs gate and went directly to the gate. He was fired, the airline fined a substantial fine and we all got nasty gram reminding us of the proper sequence. This was an easy mistake to make since flights from Toronto do NOT have to go to Customs since you clear it in Canada at the airport. By the way, it is the captain of the aircraft who is actually responsible for paying the $10,000 fine for violations, in addition to the airline.

    I had an incident when I had to divert to Wichita Falls,TX when DFW had shut down for a severe thunderstorm that had not been forecast, and thus I only had enough fuel to get to DFW and fly for only 30 min after. It was a fluke thing, and we had to scramble to find a legal alternate. We landed and they had to use a maintenance stand to let me off since they were not equipped to handle this large airplane. Some of our pax wanted to get off since it was their final destination from DFW. So I called home and got the OK from our ops, and as they were walking out through the FBO, since we could not use the little building American Airlines used, an idiot from the FBO said they could not leave this way. I told the folks to ignore this fool and go. He then called TSA who told him he was an idiot also since they could care LESS about people leaving. They would have a BIG problem going the other way. So there are some intelligent folks in the TSA who can use some common sense.

  3. When people start realizing that government in the west are run by a global mafia where the NWO is being implemented through them then it all makes sense. Meanwhile JT just keep living in LA-LA Land as the world crashes around you (which is a good thing) but they’re planning to replace it with is not.

  4. Former border patrol agent Julia Davis uncovers a CONSPIRACY to allow known terrorists into the United States. Listen to what happens when she tries to simply DO her job.

  5. Good, I’ll add ORD and MKE to my mental list. I think PDX has security because of the satellite terminal arrangement but again, it’s been a few years.

    I’m trying to remember JFK and in terminal 4 I don’t seem to recall any security check, then again we were dumped right on to the street (same for LAX arriving at terminal 4, TBIT). I’ve never been in terminal 8 (AA) at JFK so don’t know about there.

  6. Phil, I had to go through TSA returning from Italy in 2014 and Mexico in 2015. Italy I went through ORD and Mexico through MKE. So, it’s not just ATL.

  7. I’m wondering if the airline inadvertently opened the domestic arrival door rather than the international door when the passengers cane to the beginning of the jetway? Of course, that begs the question, how did they retrieve their luggage, as it would have been routed to the pre-customs luggage belts?

    L/Observer, there are cases where TSA does indeed check all incoming international passengers (after immigration and customs). I hold up Atlanta as the poster child of this procedure. There may be others.

    FWIW, almost all foreign international airports run incoming international passengers through security.

  8. Most TSA employees are good people trying to do a good job in America’s dysfunctional bureaucracies. These TSA subordinates also have little power in fixing this broken bureaucracy, the TSA top management and Congress are the only ones that can correct this system.

    W. Edwards Deming wrote a book “Deming At Work” which was a comprehensive way for government bureaucracies to function properly. Deming is the American that taught Japanese auto makers how to build quality automobiles in the 1950’s and 1960’s after his advice was outright ignored by Detroit auto CEO’s.

    America’s bureaucracies are broken and need a major overhaul.

  9. Also, it appears the airline bears some responsibility. American is reportedly calling the passengers and urging them to return and complete the paperwork. My guess is that they aren’t doing this just to be nice. Call me crazy, but it suggests the airline screwed up and misdirected the passengers. A similar incident happened in November. Those who are interested in learning something know what to do. Or you can just whine about the government or regulations, or Obama, or something…

    1. So now the question is: if you don’t come back are you breaking the law?

  10. Don,
    You are mistaking hatred for government as hatred for ALL government. There is no doubt the vast majority of people working within government are individually good people. They go to work and believe they are doing the people’s business. The problem we have is collectively they function as a bureaucratic nightmare and this has led to the entire institution being perceived as evil. The measure of good government should never be in what they do because this tends to ignore what they are not supposed to do in the first place. What many conservatives want, and I guess that would include Norquist and many others, is to shift our paradigm of good government to be limited to what is specifically authorized by the constitution. In short (too late), itemize those things this administrative state does that are not specifically authorized under the constitution and you will find that portion of government that is “hated”. Shrink the size of government and we would likely find a more efficient and effective use of our $3 trillion in tax revenue.

  11. Listen up, people. TSA is not responsible – even if Professor Turley thinks so. TSA checks people GOING.
    Customs checks people coming IN.

    Plus, notice Turley says “reports say”. Which reports? Who reported? Turley’s source is the esteemed journal The New York Daily News. Google doesn’t show any other reputable paper reporting this story. This story needs confirmation. Unless, of course, you don’t give a damn about accuracy.

    1. L’Observer – yes the problem is the airlines and Customs, not TSA. If you read the article, the airlines called the passengers a couple of hours later to return to Customs.

  12. Customs has obviously been taking lessons in efficiency from Bank of America.

    BTW, I agree that, if there was a mistake, there should be accountability. There should also have been accountability in the private sector for the misdeeds that led up to the economic crash in 2008.

    Most people concur that there was a complete lack of accountability in that respect. Does that mean that the economic system which resulted in this lack of accountability is “evil” and should be drowned in a bathtub? Or should we instead focus on doing a better job of holding people accountable without drowning the system in a bathtub?

    If, like me, you believe we should do the latter, you hopefully believe the same when it comes to dealing with our government. The near pathological hatred of government by the Grover Norquists of the world is a major problem in today’s society.

    Government is not inherently evil. Nor is Bank of America. The power of both, however, needs to be checked.

  13. Really, Nick? Now you’re a jet-setter?

    Are your referring to the time you returned from Colombia after taking down Pablo Escobar? Or do you have yet another wildly impressive anecdote that coincidentally matches the fact pattern here exactly?

    And, if you wouldn’t mind, could you educate us about the difference between TSA and Customs/Border Protection? I know it’s a level above lol-ing, but you can probably handle it. Then, if you can, please explain why it’s such a good idea for freedom lovers to get groped and porno-scanned by TSA in addition to going through customs.

    To me, it sounds like it would be an unnecessary and intrusive PITA, but maybe I just don’t love freedom enough.

  14. If the linked account is true, then there was no omission, there was a test of some kind or a plan to bring someone in from Mexico who would have triggered a negative response in customs. We’ll never know whether it was corruption, extortion, or spy-something. (Just like we’ll never know why in God’s name Western governments are calling young single men from combat zones in the Middle East refugees and losing track of them immediately upon their entry into Europe and/or the US.)

    Who said, “We have met the enemy and he is us” or something to that effect? Pogo??

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