Yemeni citizens trying to board a British Airways flight at New York's JFK airport are detained and questioned. A Russian symphony is kicked off a flight after breaking out the booze. An Iranian man is charged with trying to bring a gun aboard a Miami flight. Seven women sue terrorists over the deaths of their loved ones on Sept. 11.
31 Yemenis Stopped at JFK
N E W Y O R K, Feb. 20 — Several passengers were detained and questioned after trying to board a British Airways flight from Kennedy International Airport with improper travel documents for their trip to Yemen, police and airline representatives said today.
The passengers were scheduled to take British Airways Flight 116 at 11 p.m. Tuesday bound for Yemen with a connection in London, said Pasquale DiFulco, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the airport.
DiFulco said British Airways notified the authority that several of the 31 passengers on the flight were traveling on one-way tickets. The FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force was called. The passengers were kept from boarding, he said.
Diana Fung, a U.S.-based spokeswoman for the airline, said some of the 31 passengers produced proper documentation and were allowed to board the flight and depart, but she did not know the exact number.
Jim Margolin, an FBI spokesman, did not immediately return a call seeking the number of people investigated and their status.
A police source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the task force was concerned that seven Yemeni passengers had all bought one-way tickets, with cash, from the same travel agency. It was later learned that the seven people and three others on the flight did not have proper documentation to enter Yemen, the source said.
The source said the seven people in question had apparently been cleared after questioning.
"We have a very strict security system in place," said Fung, the airline spokeswoman. She said British Airways does not board passengers who cannot produce the appropriate documents for their travel.
The Yemeni mission in New York said it was not aware of any problems involving Yemenis on Tuesday's flight.
— The Associated Press
Rowdy Russian Symphony Booted Off Flight
L O S A N G E L E S, Feb. 20 — Members of Russia's oldest symphony orchestra were removed from a commercial airliner after becoming rowdy en route to a performance in Los Angeles, United Airlines officials said.
About 90 members of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic were aboard a flight from Amsterdam on Monday when some began talking loudly and bothering other passengers, airline officials said. After some refused to take their seats or follow crew members' orders, the members were escorted from the flight during a scheduled stop at Washington's Dulles International Airport.
After spending a night in a hotel, they were allowed to board another flight to Los Angeles on Tuesday and were still expected to perform at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion tonight.
"That 24 hours brought a lot of clarity for them," United spokeswoman Susana Leyva said. "From the moment they reached the gate area, they acted appropriately. In fact, they were very mum."
Leyva said the airline outlined a conduct agreement which would put the crew in charge during the flight.
"Our representative was very confident that they would observe all safety rules on board the flight," she said, adding that there were no other problems involving the orchestra.