JFK agent permits arriving CUN passengers to skip FIS, AGAIN


Jan 5, 2003
For the second time in two months, a JFK gate agent permits passengers arriving from Cancun to exit the airplane into the terminal instead of routing them downstairs to immigration and customs:
Passengers arriving at Kennedy Airport on an international flight were allowed to exit the busy hub without going through Customs for at least the second time in recent months, the Daily News has learned.

Bumbling airline and security officials let travelers on American Airlines Flight 1223 from Cancun, Mexico, out of the airport on Monday morning without having their passports or bags checked, sources told The News.

The security lapse mirrored a similar incident involving another American Airlines flight in November.

A 34-year-old man who had been in Cancun to attend three Phish concerts told The News he was able to glide from the plane to the baggage claim area without having to endure the usual maze of Customs and Border Protection security checks.

Its absolutely absurd, the business adviser said. To think that anyone could be walking off of that plane and just get right into the city. It could be terrorists, El Chapos henchmen, anyone.

Hours after the plane landed, American Airline officials pleaded with the Manhattan man and presumably other passengers to return to Kennedy and complete the customs process.

Article about the prior incident at JFK in November, 2015, also involving a CUN arrival:


After the November incident, an AA agent wrote on Flyertalk that the JFK agent who mistakenly let the passengers skip FIS was probably out of a job. Looks like the JFK agents should attend a refresher course in proper procedures for international arrivals.

The fear of terrorists slipping thru is overblown, however. The odds that a terrorist's flight would be allowed to skip FIS are microscopically low.
FWAAA said:
>> The fear of terrorists slipping thru is overblown, however. The odds that a terrorist's flight would be allowed to skip FIS are microscopically low.
I agree.  I have always thought the system at JFK was weak.  They raises straps to encourage you to go the right way.  MIA has a better system, with doors that swing over and lock making it much less likely anyone will get through. 
I suspect the problem lies at the end, when there might be a straggler or two.  Sometimes I look back and see two FAs and assume all pax are off.  A couple of trips ago a man was in a lav changing his baby's diaper.  An agent might also think all pax are off and remove the barrier.
The passengers may have thought they skated by, but if they had any checked baggage it would NOT be going to the domestic baggage claim.  International checked baggage is claimed before Customs inspection, so somehow they would have to get back into the international arrivals area (not an easy thing to do) to claim their luggage.
I think the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement can levy a fine of $5-10K per passenger for these violations.  If this is the second time in two months, I imagine it will be a very expensive mistake for the airline.
I agree about the checked bags - can't be that many people who travel to Cancun with just carryons, so I'd guess that most passengers would have inquired about their checked bags when they didn't show up on the regular bag belt. For those who just had carryons, they could have left (or connected) with no luggage issues.

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