- The Washington Times - Monday, January 25, 2016

Security officials at John F. Kennedy International Airport reportedly allowed passengers aboard a flight traveling from Mexico to leave the busy New York City airport without going through customs.

Passengers aboard American Airlines Flight 1223 from Cancun were able to leave the airport Jan. 18 without having their passports or bags checked, sources told The New York Daily News.

A similar incident occurred just two months ago involving another American Airlines flight from Cancun, in which 150 passengers were able to skip the customs process, The Daily News reported.

“It’s absolutely absurd,” one of the travelers in the latest security breach, a New York man who traveled to Cancun for a Phish concert, told The Daily News. “To think that anyone could be walking off of that plane and just get right into the city. It could be terrorists, El Chapo’s henchmen, anyone.”

Hours after the plane landed, American Airlines reportedly contacted the man to return to JFK to complete the customs process.

“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 Daily News reported.

“You could tell that they knew they screwed up and were desperate to get me to come,” the passenger said.

American Airlines apologized for a similar incident in November, but declined to say what they were doing about it.

“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.”

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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