Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Wrong attitude about
bags by airline worker

Question: On Sunday, July 14, at approximately 8 p.m., I was in line at Honolulu Airport to check in at the United Airlines counter. The loudspeaker constantly relayed several messages, including not to leave your baggage unattended, because such baggage would be confiscated and destroyed.

Several people in line noticed three bags apparently unattended. The line moved steadily, but the bags were not moved or touched. One was a duffel bag and the other two were suitcases. None had any identification tags. They certainly looked suspicious to those of us in line.

No security guards were to be found, so when a man who appeared to be with United passed by, people brought the bags to his attention. His response: "Don't worry -- they probably belong to someone in the line."

I could not believe his attitude! Security is supposed to be so strict in the airports, and yet he would not investigate to see if the bags were bags or bombs? Our safety is in the hands of these people. Are they so casual about the safety of the passengers that they will not investigate any hint of something not right?

Answer: United Airlines spokesman Chris Brathwaite, in a phone call from Chicago, said he would not respond directly to your complaint because he said it was not certain that a United employee was involved.

However, "The safety and security of our passengers and our employees is our top priority," Brathwaite said. "We work closely with the federal government, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and the Transportation Security Administration to insure the safe travel of our passengers."

Joe Guyton, airlines security coordinator at Honolulu Airport, was a bit more concerned about how the matter was handled -- no matter who the employee worked for.

For an airport or airline employee to respond, "'I'm sure the person's nearby,' is the wrong attitude," he said. Receiving such a cavalier response, someone should have asked for that person's supervisor or a security official. "You need to move up a level," Guyton said.

"We do have a strong policy (about unattended bags), and we do enforce it," he said. "I can't be everywhere, but I'm sure if they had brought it to the attention of someone with a little more responsible attitude, it would have been taken care of."


For the kindness and quick action of the gentleman who saw my 84-year-old husband fall on the sidewalk near Manoa Elementary School at 5:30 a.m. July 27. He called for help, and before we at home even knew my husband was out of the house, he was in the emergency room getting lots of TLC for his many cuts, scrapes and bruises. His family is very grateful to all who helped him. -- G.M.


To Matt Malanansky, who helped my daughter when her Honda broke down on the H-3 freeway on Tuesday, July 23. He even helped tow her to a safer location to get her off the busy road. We really appreciate what he did. --Grateful Mother and Daughter

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