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Recent flight incidents amplify safety fears

May 11, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
There was a strong security and police presence at Los Angeles International Airport on Wednesday night, per usual.

Passengers may be thankful for that, although they may not feel entirely safe in light of the rash of incidents around the country this past week.

The latest was Tuesday night on Delta flight 1102 from Orlando to Boston when an apparently drunk passenger tried to open an emergency exit in flight.

On Monday, an American Airlines flight from Chicago to San Francisco had a passenger who shouted "Allah Akbar," which translates to God is great in Arabic, and tried to barge into the cockpit.

A Continental Airlines from Houston to Chicago this past weekend also had a passenger who tried to pop open an exit.

Just before that, a Delta flight from Detroit to San Diego diverted to New Mexico after a flight attendant found the word "bomb" written on a napkin in the bathroom.

Frank Cilluffo, a Homeland Security expert, offers an explanation for the recent mid-flight scares.

"We're more attended because we are entering a legitimate threat period," Cilluffo said. "We are clearly paying close attention, but you also have individuals who are trying to exploit the situation."

In the recent sky-high mishaps, passengers and flight attendants jumped into action.

On Wednesday night's Boston flight, off-duty policeman John Riley helped contain the man who tried to open the door.

Some at LAX said people seem to be more willing to step in and take action when something doesn't seem right.

"I think natural instincts would take over and probably whatever I needed to do, I would probably do," said passenger Nancy Hill.

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