The Humphrey terminal at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport was evacuated for more than 90 minutes Friday morning after a suspicious bag that turned out to be harmless set off an alarm, an airport official said.
The suspicion centered on the bag's two capped PVC pipes containing a benign granular substance and wires that were not connected to the pipes, said airport spokesman Pat Hogan.
The Bloomington bomb squad removed the bag and determined that the "sandlike substance was not an explosive," Hogan said.
The bag's owner said the items were for a water filtration device and that had caused a similar disruption in 2009 at the airport in Long Beach, Calif.
The man, who offered addresses for himself in South Dakota and Virginia, was rebooked on a later flight to Raleigh, N.C.
Hogan said passengers should "be careful what you pack in your bags. If you have anything suspicious, let the people at the ticket counter know. This caused a delay for thousands of people that was not necessary."
The bag, detected in the screening area around 5:30 a.m., was removed by the bomb squad, and its owner was detained for questioning. Shortly after 7 a.m., people were let back in to what is now called Terminal 2, said airport spokeswoman Melissa Scovronski.
The disruption required everyone to leave the terminal and backed up traffic on the road leading to Terminal 2, Scovronski said. As for the effect on flights, "airlines held flights until normal operations resumed," Hogan said.
After first being sent away from the terminal, Anna Pitera said that she and other travelers were then "moved out into the parking ramps and away from the windows."
Pitera, who said her 6:30 a.m. Sun Country flight to New York's JFK was merely delayed and not canceled, said "it made everyone feel better to see the bomb squad pull away. There was a mini-round of applause where I was standing."
The 23-year-old St. Paul resident said the resumption of normal activity at the terminal has been "really smooth. Everyone was really good about shoes and liquids."
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482