Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport control tower.
— by Kenneth R. Myers, Esq.
The relaxed feeling after my family vacation last month ended fast, when a bomb threat arrived, putting our plane and us in the hands of the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA).
Flight 770 to Philadelphia pushed back from the San Juan terminal gate precisely on time, loaded with 257 passengers and crew. The engines were started, and then stopped. The airline received a bomb threat, and a piece of checked luggage was on board with no passenger.
In a series of announcements, the captain first explained that a mysterious item of luggage was aboard, and then after a long pause, that a call had been received warning of a bomb. In a very slow procession, our airplane was towed about a mile, to a distant “isolation area” in a part of the airport with no buildings or people nearby, other than the emergency equipment called out for our arrival.
There we sat for almost two more hours. There was no way for us to leave the plane, and we were forbidden to use cell phones, or other electronic devices. Nobody came aboard, and nobody left.
More after the jump.
The luggage compartment was opened, and the suspected item of luggage was found and towed away in a special containment vehicle, that looked like a large safe on wheels. As we sat there.
In short, the airport was saved from a threatened disaster, but we were left on the plane to await the feared explosion.
What kind of national security ignores 257 people exposed to a bomb threat? Who manages an emergency by protecting the airport, but not the passengers? This bomb turned out to be a hoax, but for us, protection from the TSA was like a hoax as well.