3 held in Detroit over bathroom trips on plane

From the Seattle Times.


ROMULUS, Mich. — Amid anxiety over the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, police detained three passengers at Detroit’s Metropolitan Airport on Sunday after the crew of the Frontier Airlines flight from Denver reported suspicious activity on board, and NORAD sent two F-16 jets to shadow the flight until it landed safely, airline and federal officials said.

Also Sunday, NORAD sent two F-16s to escort a Los Angeles-to-New York American Airlines flight after three passengers made repeated trips to the bathroom, officials said. Flight 34 landed safely at New York’s Kennedy Airport. New York has been in a heightened state of security after receiving a tip of a car-bomb plot.

Frontier Flight 623, with 116 passengers on board, landed without incident in Detroit after the crew reported that two people were spending “an extraordinarily long time” in a bathroom, Frontier spokesman Peter Kowalchuck said.

Flight 623 originated in San Diego before stopping at Denver International Airport on its way to Detroit. The FBI said that the North American Aerospace Defense Command scrambled F-16 fighter jets to shadow the plane “out of an abundance of caution.” In Dallas, FBI official Kevin Gentry said a rented moving truck parked at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport caused a brief scare in an area where troops returning from Middle East stints are greeted. Investigators were suspicious because the driver, a crew member of the Discovery Channel show “Sons of Guns,” said, “I got a couple of guns,” but Gentry says he was just waiting for a co-worker.

In Kansas City, security agents detained a man and shut down one of three terminals at the main airport in Kansas City on Sunday after detecting suspicious items inside his carry-on bag. The items tested negative for explosive materials.

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