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Baggage claim area at CLT reopened after police clear security concern

A suspicious item prompted delays for passengers and no access to baggage claim at Charlotte Douglas International Airport on Monday afternoon. Police are investigating.
A suspicious item prompted delays for passengers and no access to baggage claim at Charlotte Douglas International Airport on Monday afternoon. Police are investigating. tsumlin@charlotteobserver.com

Charlotte Douglas International Airport said Monday afternoon that airport security and law enforcement officials have given the all clear after investigating a “suspicious item” in the baggage claim area.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said airport division officers were called to a report of unattended baggage at 2:46 p.m. The CMPD Bomb Squad Unit was called to the airport to investigate and found the item was not a threat, police said.

Officers found the owner of the baggage and returned it, police said.

The airport tweeted the all clear announcement at 4:59 p.m., just over an hour after announcing the security investigation. But they also said there may be some delays in retrieving luggage.

The airport had announced at 3:40 p.m. via Twitter “local law enforcement is responding to a possible security item in baggage claim. Lower level traffic is being rerouted to the upper level.”

Baggage claim and airport arrivals at CLT are on the lower level.

Around 4 p.m., via Twitter, airport officials said customers where told to “remain where they are” and to not “access roadways via foot.” Flight delays, if any, would be announced by airlines, airport officials said.

Unhappy passengers

On social media, people at the airport reported being stuck in the hourly parking garage near the terminals and unable to reach the security line.

Some passengers who were already inside the airport when the security issue broke out said on social media that they had trouble hearing audio announcements coming over the PA system from airport officials. One passenger said she was with evacuees returning home after Hurricane Dorian and that the confusion in the airport was adding to their stress.

Most flights seemed to be unaffected by the investigation, according to the CLT website. All 50 flights scheduled to depart from CLT between 5:14 and 6:10 were listed as on time.

Six flights of 57 arriving at CLT in the next hour, between 5:04 and 6:10 were listed online as delayed.

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