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unattended laptop causes security alert on UA25 ex JFK

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unattended laptop causes security alert on UA25 ex JFK

Old 15th Oct 2002, 13:34
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unattended laptop causes security alert on UA25 ex JFK

Toronto Star

Unattended computer prompts fighter escort

SEATTLE (AP) A United Airlines flight from New York landed under military jet escort last night after a crew member found an unattended laptop computer under a seat, an airline spokeswoman said.

Port of Seattle bomb technicians examined the laptop and determined it posed no danger, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport spokeswoman Terri-Ann Mohon said.

Passengers were evacuated as a precaution as soon as the plane landed on the airport's tarmac. They were bused to a nearby fire station and held there for about two hours until the computer was determined to be simply "a left laptop," Mohon said.

The flight was United Flight 25 from John F. Kennedy International Airport, United spokeswoman Chris Nardella said.

"Our crews always take every precaution," she said, adding crew members notified authorities when none of the 136 passengers claimed the computer.

Airline officials were trying to reunite the passengers not only with their checked luggage but with the carry-on bags they left on the airplane when they evacuated, Mohon said.

The plane also carried a crew of six, Nardella said
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Old 15th Oct 2002, 16:00
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Now that's a surprise. I would have expected any left laptops to be confiscated by the cleaning crews before its departure from JFK. No wonder there was a real concern.

I'm afraid that I may have lifted the laptop cover to look for an ID. I'll have to rethink that idea now, seeing as how it may automatically boot up the CD drive.

All the more reason for swabbing these things randomly at security.
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Old 15th Oct 2002, 19:24
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before its departure from JFK
Or some time earlier (much earlier ?) in the flight. I assume it was in front of an empty seat although it could have been one occupied by an inexperienced (sic) passenger who didn't think to mention it.

To continue to destination might suggest the crew was not as concerned as the report implies. This was an A320 so a multitude of diversion alternatives were available. Don't know where the fighters were from, but since they 'escorted' the flight to SEA it seems to me the laptop wasn't discovered until they were ~4 hours downroute. Would be interested to know exactly when and how it came to light.
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