Heading back home from the space shuttle launch on Monday, I began my journey at Orlando International this morning. Shortly after I passed through the security checkpoint at 10:45 am, a chorus of shouting began behind me. My first thought was that it was just a bunch of idiots back from some riotous trip. Then, realizing that the shouting was coming through in surround sound, for one brief, horrifying moment, I thought the airport was about to be taken over by terrorists. Fortunately, my fears were quickly allayed as I realized that the assertive, un-panicked yelling was coming from just about every TSA worker in the immediate area.
Passing through security at Orlando International brings you to two monorail stations, each of which goes to its own set of gates. Moving with purpose but without running, TSA personnel quickly blocked off the monorail stations and removed everyone from a boarding monorail train. As soon as the trains were secured, they formed a human chain. The checkpoint shut down: Nobody went through metal detectors; conveyor belts halted.
All passengers beyond security -- those about to board the monorail, those who just arrived via monorail, those like me who just cleared the checkpoint -- were all instructed to leave the area and enter the pre-security area of the terminal. A TSA worker escorted all of us needing reentry to the airport/airline employee lane for re-screening.
Ultimately, I never found out what caused the commotion. I asked a TSA guy who told me, 'Someone went through and forgot something they weren't supposed to and they caught it in time.' Really specific.
I was very impressed by the TSA today. When called to do so, they snapped into action immediately. I feel safer, today, after witnessing what I did. Keep up the good work, guys!
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