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77-year-old woman left in tears after being fined £1,590 for forgetting sandwich during flight

Rhiannon Ingle

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77-year-old woman left in tears after being fined £1,590 for forgetting sandwich during flight

Featured Image Credit: MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

We all know that buying food at an airport is a pricey ordeal but a sandwich costing over a grand is a whole new level.

Now, while the sandwich itself didn't cost the large sum, it did end up being the reason why a 77-year-old woman fined a staggering £1,570 for forgetting about the sarnie during her flight.

June Armstrong, an Aussie grandma, was flying from Christchurch to Brisbane earlier this year (2 May) when she was brought to tears after being landed with the small fortune to cough up over the butty blunder.

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After rocking up at the airport, June bought a muffin and a gluten-free chicken and lettuce sandwich, which was sealed.

Opening up about the situation, she told the New Zealand Herald: "I sat down and ate some of my muffin and I really didn’t feel like it so I threw the rest away, but I put the sandwich in my small backpack.

"I just clearly forgot. I am very forgetful, but not forgetful enough to be diagnosed with dementia."

June had planned on eating the sandwich in the plane but fell asleep.

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When she reached her destination, she filled out a declaration form where she stated she had prescription medication.

June went through border control and had both her suitcase and backpack checked over by local authorities where they found her uneaten sandwich.

June, 77, explained she 'forgot' about the sandwich after the flight. Credit: Caziopeia / Getty Images
June, 77, explained she 'forgot' about the sandwich after the flight. Credit: Caziopeia / Getty Images

The woman recalled she said at the time: "Oh, I forgot about that, I’m sorry. Could you throw it away for me?"

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Unfortunately, however, the border control official did not oblige and 'just kept going through [her] bag' and finally returned to deliver the news absolutely no ones wants to hear at an airport.

"Twelve points, 3300," the official said to which June asked him what it meant and he replied: "Twelve points, NZD $3,300 (approximately £1,590)."

Clearly stunned by the fine, June hoped the man was just having her on before she finally realised he was far from joking.

Naturally, the grandma broke down into tears.

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"I was just sobbing and said '$3,300 for a little sandwich?'" she recalled.

Brb I'm just crying myself over here.

June attempted to appeal the fine but eventually conceded and paid it in full.

The chicken sandwich was sealed. Credit: PJjaruwan / Getty Images
The chicken sandwich was sealed. Credit: PJjaruwan / Getty Images
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"My husband kept saying, 'Just pay it'. I said, ‘'It’s our pension, we can’t afford this'," she admitted before revealing she is now on sleeping tablets but just how much the situation 'consumed' her and 'how much it will affect [their] lives'.

She and her hubby, who have been married nearly 50 years, have around $30,000 in savings as well as their pensions.

June explained: "That’s all we have. Everything we’ve got is freehold. I never buy anything that we can’t have.

"We’ve worked bloody hard all our life for what we’ve got … we live from week to week."

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry said June required a permit to bring the sandwich into Australia.

A spokesperson told news.com.au: “Meat has strict import conditions which can change quickly based on disease outbreaks.

“Uncanned meats, including vacuum-sealed items, are not allowed into Australia unless accompanied by an import permit."

Now, six months on, June is sharing her story as a cautionary tale: "I should let it go, and my husband says I should, but they just don’t give me any answers.

"Everybody I show the fine to is dumbfounded, they just can’t believe it."

Topics: Real Life, Travel, Plane Etiquette, Money, Food and Drink, Australia

Rhiannon Ingle
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