Travelers at John F. Kennedy International Airport were relieved that the suspect in the failed Times Square bombing was arrested late Monday, moments before his scheduled flight left for Dubai. NY1's Jon Weinstein filed the following report.
Early Tuesday morning, an Emirates Air flight finally headed to Dubai, minus one sought-after passenger. Hours earlier, authorities had boarded and grabbed self-confessed Times Square attempted bomber Faisal Shahzad, who thought he was on his way to Pakistan.
Authorities say Shahzad was in such a rush to get out of the country that he made his reservation on the way to the airport and paid for his ticket in cash.
South African traveler Mark Sutherland was in his seat on Emirate Flight EK 202 as the situation unfolded and Shahzad was removed.
"We boarded at 10 o'clock and got delayed and delayed and delayed. We were actually ready for takeoff, but were called back into the dock," said Sutherland. "And there was a couple of security personnel coming off. Then we all got deplaned and they went through our luggage."
Released audio from Liveatc.net showed how air traffic control officials ordered Flight EK 202 to land.
Tower: Actually, I have a message for you to go back to the gate immediately. I don't know exactly why, but you can call your company for the reason?
Pilot: We'll do that. Left onto Echo, then onto Alpha and back to the gate.
Like a number of other passengers aboard the plane, Sutherland opted not to continue on the original flight that left Tuesday morning, saying he did not know what was going on.
"We weren't told anything until we got off the plane," said Sutherland.
Passengers arriving at JFK for flights all over the world Tuesday morning were relieved the suspect had been caught. They also said they had no reason to change their flight plans based on all the overnight turmoil.
"I've been through quite a bit of things where they catch people all the time. You can't really stress yourself over what's going to happen. You just have to faith in God and trust the [Transportation Security Administration] is going to do its job," said one traveler.
"I'm not going to change my lifestyle because of it. [I'm] definitely glad they're on top of it," said another.
Sutherland said he also was impressed by the way officials handled the entire situation on his flight.
"You're a bit annoyed when it's all going on, 'cause it's so long and time-consuming and you don't know what's happening, but at the end of it you feel safer," said Sutherland.
Sutherland said he is booked on a later flight to Dubai and ultimately to South Africa. He is happy to finally be on his way home.