Airline Blames TSA
Northwest Airlines baggage handlers
blame poor planning on management's part. Northwest blames the
TSA's screening system. Whichever is true, passengers flying from
Detroit's Metro were separated from their belongings as the bags
either didn't make their flights or ended up on the wrong planes
over the weekend.
"This was an unusual event, driven by an unusual combination of
circumstances," airline spokesman Kurt Ebenhoch told the Detroit
Free Press. "Northwest is working together with all interested
parties to prevent this from happening again."
Passengers and ticket agents said the luggage piled up behind
ticket counters until it reached the ceiling, as lines of
frustrated passengers stretched out of the building and down the
"It was chaos," passenger Donna Satterfield of Grosse Pointe
Park told the Free Press. Her luggage was finally delivered Sunday
night in Lake Tahoe, NV, more than a day after she departed Metro.
"The luggage was piled up and people were really angry."
To hear Stephen Gordon tell it, the
problem was Northwest's lack of planning for so many passengers.
Gordon, president of Local 141 of the International Association of
Machinists and Aerospace Workers, which represents baggage
handlers, skycaps and gate agents at Metro, told the Detroit
newspaper, "Everyone wants to run really lean on staff, and this is
the price you pay."
Gordon warned the same thing could happen next weekend, when
many of those travelers head home.
Northwest tells a different story. The airline blames the TSA's
screening process and a bomb detection machine that broke down.
Whatever the cause, all parties seemed to agree on one thing:
There was no sign of a worker slow-down of the type that was
suspected in causing major problems throughout US Airways' system
over the Christmas holidays.