SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A security incident created chaos at San Francisco International Saturday morning as TSA lines at busy Terminal No. 3 were forced to shut down and United flights were grounded for more than an hour, authorities said.
In all, 23 United flights experienced delays, airport officials said, 14 departures and nine arrivals.
Airport Duty Manager Chris Morgan said the incident took place around 6:35 a.m. when it was discovered that a TSA mistake had allowed a passenger to bring a loaded magazine into the terminal.
A TSA baggage checker had identified a threat item inside a passenger’s bag, but the wrong bag was pulled off the conveyor belt. The bag with the magazine in it was grabbed by the passenger who proceeded into the terminal.
“The passenger did what any passenger would (in grabbing the bag),” Morgan told the San Francisco Chronicle. “He was unaware (there was a problem).”
TSA immediately shutdown the security lanes and began a search for the passenger, halting operations in the United section of Terminal No. 3. The boarding areas at security
checkpoints F1 and F3 in Terminal 3 and checkpoint G in the International Terminal were closed for about an hour.
Flights that were not already on the taxiway also were grounded while the search was conducted, Morgan said.
The passenger was located at around 7:35 a.m., officials said, and normal operations were resumed. However, several flights were delayed in their departure by the incident and the delays were lingering at 9 a.m. with thousands of passengers backed up at the TSA checkpoints.