LaGuardia Airport, the smaller of New York City’s two major airports, was the scene of mass evacuation shortly after noon today, sending thousands of annoyed travelers outside into the frigid winter weather for more than an hour.
Even though temperatures were in the low 30s Fahrenheit at LaGuardia Airport today, frustrated airline ticket-holders were ushered out of LaGuardia Airport Terminal C after a baggage handler loading a Delta Flight noticed a bag which appeared to be sending off white smoke.
The bag never made it on to the plane, nor did its owners, a male passenger with two female companions. Delta flight 5208 bound for Richmond, Virginia, took off at 12:25 anyway.
Evacuated travelers took to Twitter to document their irritation.
— Laura Anne (@LauraAnneNY) February 4, 2014
“I was actually standing at the x-ray machine and they said ‘You have to evacuate the building immediately,'” a Charlotte-bound passenger, 53-year-old John Duplica, told The Wall Street Journal. “A TSA agent literally shoved my coat in my arms and said ‘you need to go right now.'”
By the time Port Authority police arrived, there was no smoke emitting from the supposedly suspicious bag, if there ever was, a Port Authority spokesperson told The New York Daily News.
Nonetheless, a Port Authority bomb squad was called in and cleared the bag at around 1:05 pm local time. Passengers were allowed back into Terminal C at about 1:20 pm.
The LaGuardia Airport evacuation proved aggravating for everyone, but some passengers were still attempting to get out of New York after attending the Super Bowl on Sunday in New Jersey. Numerous flights were canceled Monday leaving New York due to snow.
“I was waiting for my flight and three policeman came in and said, ‘Evacuate the building. Everybody outide. No questions,'” said Indianapolis Star sportswriter Mike Chappel, 61. “I’m frustrated because my flight was cancelled yesterday.”
— Dionna Widder (@DW_LeagueRep) February 4, 2014
On the other hand, some passengers wee understanding of the inconvenience.
There’s nothing they could do about it,” shrugged another Indianapolis resident, Karen Snyder, 67. “We have to stay safe.”
At last report, flights in and out of LaGuardia Airport were operating normally, though lines remained lengthy following the brief scare.