Yesterday I experienced my first-ever TSA lockdown.
I was in Terminal 2 at Los Angeles International Airport and had just climbed the stairs from the lobby level to the security checkpoint.
As I was winding my way through the empty PreCheck line, all of a sudden I heard a shout followed by a chorus of other shouts.
“Lockdown! Lockdown! Lockdown!”
All the TSA agents were yelling. Barricades (those large plastic “Do Not Enter” signs) quickly went up at each metal detector and full body scanner and everyone paused.
The first thought that went through my mind was that a carry-on baggage screener had found something very suspicious.
Everyone froze. Passengers stood silently, waiting for instructions. A group of agents huddled around a series of monitors at the supervisor’s desk. There was eerie silence in the terminal.
Then, about three minutes later, a lone agent yelled out.
The terminal began bustling again as security checkpoints were re-opened.
I asked the agent who scanned my boarding pass what happened. He said “someone thought someone slipped through the exit.” Apparently the video review revealed that did not take place.
Here’s the somewhat creepy thing. As this occurred, I was standing next to a memorial for Gerardo Hernandez, TSA agent was murdered by a gunman three years ago at LAX. There’s a permanent memorial to the officer at the checkpoint. Admittedly, it was sobering to witness the lockdown, see everyone freeze, and look at this memorial to an agent killed in the line of duty.
But it was just a false alarm. I’m thankful for that.
Have you ever experienced a TSA lockdown?