DFW AIRPORT (CBS11) – The loud speakers repeatedly play the message throughout the airport: unattended baggage is prohibited, and subject to search.
When it comes to reporting unattended bags, many travelers at DFW Airport say are surprised to learn the quickest way to get a response, is to pick up the phone.
“I would normally go find someone,” said Kim Russo.
“I’d probably walk and try to find someone,” said Bobbie Dooley.
“I’d tell TSA,” said Nick DeMore.
The question came up, after visitors at the airport discovered an unattended computer bag left on a bench near the A 17 baggage claim.
Larry Giele, a CBS 11 employee, was one of several people who sought out security to report the problem. Giele says a man sat down with the bag for a few minutes, then walked away, leaving it behind.
“I went to TSA. Another person went to an airport representative who was wearing a badge. We got those two covered,” said Giele.
Giele says the witnesses waited 15 to 20 minutes for security personnel to arrive.
“Why did it take 20 minutes to even get a person to come look at it?” he asked.
A DFW International Airport spokesperson says it’s not the job of TSA but airport police to checkout unattended bags.
The best way to report one, says David Magana, is to immediately call 911. Calling 911 from a cell phone inside the airport immediately connects to the DFW Airport police and fire dispatch center.
Response times for the DFW Department of Public Safety are usually five minutes or less inside the terminal. Magana says that time frame was not met in this event.
The bag was cleared by a K-9 unit, and the owner was located about an hour later.
With airport personnel seemingly on every corner, travelers said they would not first think to call 911.
“I did not know that,” said Dooley.
Giele said no one around him last night thought to pick up the phone.
“Two or three people brought it to other airport personnel, employees. But nobody ever thought of calling 911,” Giele said.
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