Herald-Mail editor-publisher stuck in BWI airport disruption

August 11, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

BALTIMORE - Herald-Mail Editor and Publisher John League was driving to the airport Thursday morning when he heard on the radio that a possible terrorist plot had been stopped.

He said he expected security delays before boarding his flight to Sarasota, Fla., which was scheduled to leave about 10 a.m. from Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

After making it through a security checkpoint, League and many other passengers missed their flight.

League said he would be going back to the airport today, when he hoped he could take another flight.

About 9:30 a.m., League was waiting in a line to pass through security. He said he had expected it would take another hour and 30 minutes more before he could continue to the gates.

"Everyone is calm and in good spirits," he said. "There's no real angst. Everyone is aware of what is going on. We'll just go with the flow."


Passengers were allowed to take their carry-on luggage with them on domestic flights, but anything with a liquid base had to be left behind, League said.

According to the airport's Web site, the Department of Homeland Security restricted passengers from having liquids or gels of any size at the security screening checkpoint or in the cabin of the aircraft. The list of restricted items included beverages, shampoo, suntan lotion, creams, toothpaste, hair gel and other items of similar consistency. Those items could be transported in checked luggage, according to the Web site.

League said women carrying milk or formula for babies had to taste the milk in front of security officials to ensure it was milk.

"Anyone who has anything with a liquid base has to throw it out," he said.

League said there were police officers with automatic rifles and dogs in the airport.

While League was waiting in the security line, officials announced that anyone with a flight that was leaving at 10 a.m. or earlier could be ushered through security. League said that even with assistance, he missed his flight, along with many other Air Tran passengers.

All other flights leaving Thursday were filled, and he said he was scheduled to take one today.

League said his luggage was not at BWI, and officials were unable to find it. He was hoping when he arrived in Sarasota today it would be there.

"The amazing thing is, that after 9/11, I think everyone knew what was going on," he said. "If this were to happen prior to 9/11, it would have been close to bedlam or a riot. It was almost a sort of fraternal atmosphere. It was nice to see people react with a great deal of understanding."

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