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Three flight scares in one day

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Fear of retaliation for the killing of Osama bin Laden has many Americans on alert. This weekend saw three scares on different flights, adding to anxiety.

(Photo: Associated Press)

One of the first alerts that went out after the capture of Osama bin Laden was to airports. President Barack Obama's national security team worried terrorists might use air travel as a way to avenge the death of the Al Qaeda leader.

At Reagan National Airport Monday, security remains on high alert following the capture and a weekend of back-to-back incidents at airports across the country.

A passenger carrying a Yemeni passport tried to storm the cockpit of an American Airlines flight from Chicago as it was approaching San Francisco on Sunday. A quick-thinking flight attendant and two passengers tackled the Yemeni.

Congressman Anthony Weiner, Democrat from New York, said the incident serves as a wakeup call.

“An absolute bright light should go off,” Weiner said. “Anyone traveling with anything to do with Yemen, we should be on high alert. That's the unfortunate fact of life and I'm sure there are a lot of very good people in Yemen, but the fact is it is a breeding ground for terrorism nowadays and we should be aware of that.”

One of the passengers who responded on the San Francisco flight was a retired Secret Service member, another an off-duty police officer. Investigators say the man appears to be deranged and not plotting a specific terrorist attack.

Also on Sunday, a Continental flight had to make an unexpected landing after an unruly passenger tried to force open the door mid-air. A Delta flight to San Diego diverted because of a suspicious package.

At Reagan National Airport, Carlos Flores said he’s not worried.

“Our government is doing a good job and the airports keep it pretty secure. They are very professional. I feel safe,” said Flores, who lives in Annandale.

Tina Steo of La Plata said this weekend's string of incidents is a sign travelers may be too complacent and more vigilance is needed.

“Especially with the fact that bin Laden is gone now, I think you know there's a fear that a lot of people have been talking - at least to me - about the fact that they think something could happen again,” Steo said.

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