Due to thunderstorms, a flight bound for Minneapolis on Friday, August 7, was diverted to Rochester, Minnesota. Passengers were stuck inside the plane for several hours after ExpressJet made the decision not to deplane.
Earlier today, there were media reports that led some to believe TSA regulations prevented the passengers from deplaning.
TSA does not make decisions on whether or not passengers can deplane. We do however have the ability to recall our officers and open a checkpoint at the request of an airline or airport. No requests were made by ExpressJet on Friday or Saturday. The checkpoint resumed normal operations at 4:30 a.m. on Saturday.
Also, passengers did not need to be screened or rescreened to deplane and re-board as long as they didn’t exit past the checkpoint and leave the non-screened sterile area of the airport.
Please note the airline has since publically apologized to the passengers.
TSA Blog Team