Cleveland-Bound Plane Tests New Security System

CLEVELAND – On the first weekday that the U.S. Government took control of security at some of the nation's airports, a Cleveland-bound airplane provided the first test for the system, 19/43 News' Rick Jackson reported.

What grade the Transportation Security Administration would get for their reaction on Monday would depend on which American Eagle Flight 4403 passenger that you asked.

"The pilot said there was a security breach, something was wrong with the plane," passenger Aviva Ariel said. "We had to go back."

Aviva and her father's morning abruptly changed Monday when the plane was turned around in the air.

Passengers said that one man got through security at New York's LaGuardia Airport during a shift change. Instead of waiting to be hand-searched, he ran for the plane with a bag and a laptop computer.

Other passengers saw him, but the breach wasn't discovered until the plane was 100 miles out, so the pilot made the order to turn back.

The concourse at LaGuardia was evacuated, the passengers were forced to get off of the plane and then they went through security again.

"The National Guard guy came on with two policemen and walked the plane," passenger Jeffrey Vizethann said. "Then, the American Airlines guy came and took the guy off by himself.

"We all got re-screened, re-checked and the plane got sniffed by dogs."

You might expect that the passengers would be angry when they finally arrived at Hopkins International Airport more than two hours late, but that wasn't the case with the majority of the passengers with whom 19/43 News spoke.

"I'm reassured that security in the end worked," passenger David Ariel said.

Some of the passengers, however, questioned the government-controlled security forces' reaction even though this case turned out well.

"Somebody made it through and was on the plane," one passenger said. "We were up in the air 20 minutes before they figured it out."

Both LaGuardia and Hopkins were among the first 15 airports in the country to be federally staffed. All airports will be that way by November.