ST. LOUIS – An American Airlines flight to Dallas that had left St. Louis Lambert International Airport around 7 a.m. made an abrupt turn south of Rolla and immediately returned to St. Louis.
A screenshot from Plane Finder, the online tracking software, showed the figure eight pattern of flights 14–10.
Passengers were rebooked for later flights on Thursday. Airport officials said that they’re in the spring break season for travelers, which began in February and continues through April.
“Right now, we’re seeing 14 to 15,000 passengers a day,” said Mark Howell, a spokesperson for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). “You’ll see it go up to 22,000 at the peak.”
TSA officials recommended travelers get to Lambert at least two hours before travel time. They also remind you what you can and cannot bring with you through security.
“Little things like oversized liquids or pocket knives will slow things down at the checkpoint,” Howell said. “We find hundreds of pounds of prohibited items in passengers’ bags.”
The tsa.gov website has a section called “What Can I Bring?” that lets travelers grasp what is acceptable and what is not. Items like sunblock and alcohol have to be checked.
“Make sure if you’re traveling with sunscreen or oversized liquids more than 3.4 ounces, you place those things inside the checked bags,” Howell said.
The exception to that rule is medical-related items. The TSA is also asking travelers to consider safety for all.
“Most people have self-defense items with them, and that can be pepper sprays, or brass knuckles, or things hanging from your keychains for your own self-defense,” Howell said. “Lot of times people don’t think about having those things with them when they come to the security checkpoint.”
The TSA said a gun brought to security is going to result in possible criminal charges, a potential fine of $15,000, and being taken off the flight.
“Last year, a record 6,572 guns came through checkpoints across the U.S.,” Howell said. “Here in St. Louis, we had a total of 96.”
On Feb. 22, five guns were seized at security checkpoints; so far in 2023, 16 have been seized at Lambert.