Savannah, GA (PRWEB) April 19, 2005
When International Flight Attendant Marsha Marks volunteered to work a MAC (Military Aircraft Charter) Flight to escort troops on their way to active duty in Middle East, she thought she was doing a good thing. "It was my way of serving my country", she said. "I never dreamed it would get me in any kind of trouble." And it didn't, until one month later, when Marks showed up at Savannah/Hilton Head, International Airport to commute to her base in Atlanta for a routine 3 day trip.
As Marks tried to get through SAV security, she was informed she had been randomly selected for 'additional screening'. Marks said she wasn't worried, 'Additional screening happens a lot when you're a Flight Attendant.' She knew it was simply a matter of someone running a wand and cloth over her bags and she'd be on her way. But, Marks was not sent on her way. Instead, "guards began scrambling and more and more testing was done on my bags." Marks said. All her bags.
Marks says she began hearing whispers of words like "bombs, FBI and National Threat. I knew something was wrong, the way they called everyone over, including the police who had their hands on what looked like loaded guns" she said. 'And they began looking at me, like they recognized me from American's Most Wanted.'
Marks was informed there was a 'problem' with her bags. When she asked what the problem was, she was told, 'by a large guard' her bags tested positive for TNT. Marks now realizes the way she responded was not wise. She told the guard he was 'nuts'.
Marks airport security interrogation lasted two hours. Her bags proved to test positive for residue from not just TNT, but ever major weapon in the United States Arsenal. "You're bags are covered with it, Ma'am inside and out". Marks was told.
Marsha Marks was allowed a telephone call, which she used to inform her airline and her employer of twenty years, that she would not be able to make her working flight that day as she had just been deemed a security threat and was now banned from going within 500 feet of any FAA facility. "Of course I didn't get paid for the flight I didn't make' she said. 'But, that was the least of my worries," she said, "When they said they were notifying the FBI of my activities, I started to cry. I never thought I had any activities worthy of federal interest."
The incident was resolved early the next morning when Marks was patched via phone, to the corporate Security desk of her airline. The Airline Security office looked up Marks Schedule and said, "Marsha, Why didn't you tell them of your recent MAC Charter? Why didn't you mention you have been on an aircraft, with hundreds of armed military personnel, and their weapons, and ammunition all over the airplane. The residue from that Ammunition gets on all the bags of all the Flight Attendants. If you had told them that...they would have called us to confirm and you'd have been on your way."
Marks said she was too nervous at the time, to remember anything but the fact that she didn't own a gun and couldn't explain how 'gun powder' got on her bags.
This incident has become fodder for a chapter in the new Random House release, "Flying by the Seat of My Pants: Flight Attendant Adventures on a Wing and a Prayer". by Marsha Marks (May 2005) The chapter about this incident, is titled: "The Day I Was Deemed a Security Threat".
For more information visit http://www.flyingbytheseatofmypants.net or email Marsha at firstname.lastname@example.org
or Email: email@example.com