Security scare at Charlotte Douglas airport leaves travelers concerned

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Airport officials still haven’t said what the security scare was all about Monday morning at Charlotte Douglas International.

The airport tweeted around 6 a.m. that all Transportation Security Administration checkpoints were closed due to a security inspection. Five minutes later, the airport tweeted an update saying the checkpoints were back open.

Channel 9 reporter Mark Barber was at the airport all day and learned a little more about what happened.

Passengers told him that agents were searching for a man with a bag, but TSA officials have not responded to Channel 9's inquiries.

Traveler Joy Williams said once she made it through security she saw agents searching for someone.

"After we had gone through TSA, we had heard they were looking for a white male in his 40s or 50s, who had a bag," Williams said. "It was pretty scary. It was a lot people, yeah it was pretty intense."

Channel 9 attempted to call TSA, but were directed straight to a voicemail message that said they still can’t answer calls due to a lapse in federal funding with the government shutdown.

American Airlines said the man at the center of the security scare was booked on a flight in Concourse E.

Travelers who were forced to wait in massive lines out in the ticketing area while agents searched for the man told Channel 9 they were happy to wait once they learned why the checkpoints were closed.

“I’m in a much better mood waiting in line now that I know why. I’d rather wait than not make it,” said traveler Ann Eyrich. "That puts your mind at ease. They're doing their job."

Travelers said when the man was caught, all the checkpoints opened back up.

By then, hundreds of travelers were packed into the ticketing area in lines so long the crowds stretched from one side of the building to the other.

Confused travelers who were stuck in the crowds said they are still spooked by the checkpoint shutdown.

“I’m a little nervous now but I have to go. It’s work, it’s my job,” said Eyrich.

Passengers said the timing of the incident is what was most surpsising. The government shutdown is over now, so travelers said they thought they would not have to worry about TSA.

American Airlines reported everyone stuck in the crowds caught their flights on time.

The airline said the only exceptions are the passengers who were supposed to be on the same flight in Concourse A as the man who was at the center of the security scare.

>> Channel 9 is continuing to reach out to the TSA to figure out if there was a security threat at the airport and will have updates tonight at 5.

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