MINNEAPOLIS – A suspicious package caused a two hour shutdown of Terminal 2 at the Minneapolis/Saint Paul International Airport Friday morning. An evacuation of the terminal was ordered just before 6 a.m.
A 36-year-old Minneapolis woman tried to check in for a Southwest Airlines flight at 6 a.m. with a box containing a propane cooker with the propane tank attached. When the ticketing agent would not allow her to take the device on the plane, she abandoned it near a store in the Terminal.
"so, we have an unidentified box that appeared to contain something that could perhaps be explosive," said Patrick Hogan, MSP Communications Director. "That is what caused us to evacuate the ticketing lobby, call in the bomb squad and try to investigate to find out what this was."
The Terminal was shutdown for two hours, delaying a number of Sun Country and Southwest flights. It also backed up traffic trying to get to the airport all the way to I-494. The passenger was able to pass through security without the box and boarded her flight.
However, Airport Police removed her from the plane and arrested her. Airport officials have no information that the woman had any bad intentions, only a lack of understanding of airport and TSA rules.
"This time of year, you have a lot of people who are flying who aren't as familiar with the rules as the business fliers would be," said Hogan.
A TSA spokesperson told Kare11 that the TSA confiscated 37 guns at U.S. Airports last week, including 13 that were loaded. One, a .38 caliber handgun was found at the MSP airport in Minnesota.
Southwest flights continued to have long waiting lines to check in during the late afternoon and evening as a result of the evacuation Friday morning.
Airport officials say it is an opportunity for would-be passengers to remember to check with the TSA and their airline about what types of items can be brought as carry-ons or checked baggage.