What would make you pass a note to the pilot?by Toni Randolph, Minnesota Public Radio
Thousands of travelers are passing through Twin Cities Airport today, one of the busiest travel days of the year, on the heels of the detention of six Muslim clerics at the airport. Federal officials questioned the clerics for several hours on Monday before releasing them. There was no evidence of any criminal wrongdoing. The incident was sparked by a passenger who reported suspicious activity by the men. The imams had reportedly prayed loudly before boarding a plane bound for Phoenix and made anti-American comments about the war in Iraq.
Most airline passengers have never reported suspicious activity, so we wondered what would prompt them to notify security as they head for the departure gate and get ready for take-off.
Minneapolis — Sandy Holberson and her family are traveling to her son's graduation from basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. She says she's a little nervous about flying after the detention of the Muslim clerics earlier this week. She says activity similar to that of the imams could possibly lead her to contact the flight crew.
"The chanting, that would kind of make me nervous... people speaking non-English and maybe communicating with one another that way," she says.
Miles Harlow is headed home to Northampton, Mass., for Thanksgiving. He's a student at Macalester College. He says he's never reported suspicious activity and believes that security personnel are doing their jobs well.
"I suppose if I saw some people acting differently, I'd keep a closer eye, but I never had in the past. I don't think I'm on the look-out for it. I feel pretty safe traveling," he said.
Lois Sauder of Breckinridge, Minn., is traveling to Dallas for Thanksgiving. She says she's not a frequent flyer, but she is a people-watcher.
"I think I would notice if something was going on," she says.
Heather Stacy will be vacationing in Cancun over the holiday. She says she travels frequently, but has never seen any activity that she felt was suspicious. But she says her husband did once.
"He was a little bit leery. He just kept his eye on the people for a while, but we didn't report it," she says.
Scott Hawkins travels about twice a month. He's heading home to Dayton, Ohio, today. He says he's never seen or reported any activity he considers suspicious.
"I'm not sure what I would consider suspicious. I'm not trained to look for that kind of stuff," he says.
- All Things Considered, 11/22/2006, 5:50 p.m.