Tracey Britton wants an apology – and a new laptop – after being detained at Regina International Airport Monday.
The woman from St. Victor, Sask. is supposed to be in Peru right now, getting ready to celebrate her dad’s wedding. Instead, she’s waiting to catch another flight out of Regina later this week.
Britton was en route to Toronto via Regina when one of her bags caught the attention of airport staff.
“Basically (they) told me that my one baggage was deemed suspicious and that I would be detained for a little bit, which ended up turning into six hours of interrogation,” she said.
“What I finally heard was in my home laptop – which never leaves my side – there was deemed organic matter and they explained to me there was a cylinder piece in the back of the computer that looked like it could be a detonator.”
The security incident caused people and planes to be grounded for hours Monday morning.
“In the meantime, I’m thinking this was all going to blow over – it’s just a laptop, there’s nothing wrong with it,” Britton said.
“Towards the end there, when they were talking charges and federal prosecutors, I’m like, ‘Oh my God, what’s going on here?’”
Britton said airport staff wouldn’t explain the issue – then police arrived and an officer started asking questions.
“He says, ‘Apparently your laptop has been deemed suspicious and they seem to see something inside. Is there something you need to tell me about that’s inside your computer?’ I’m like, ‘No!’”
She said the laptop was destroyed by the bomb squad – and she wants it replaced.
In a news release, Regina Police Service spokeswoman Elizabeth Popowich confirmed the computer was “rendered inoperable,” and that Britton was provided with information to file a claim. The hard drive was saved.
“It was necessary to take the computer apart to ensure there was no explosive. There was no other way to confirm this,” Popowich said.
According to Regina police, there were “at least three separate assessments of this item that came to the conclusion that it may contain an explosive and, if so, would pose a serious threat to public safety in the airport or on an aircraft.”
‘Handled very poorly’
Britton said she understands the importance of security screening – and that staff were just doing their job – but she wished there was more communication.
“It was handled very poorly on their side. I was left standing at the screening area for two hours. Nobody came to me and explained to me what was going on, that there was a problem,” she said, adding the airport was also not discrete in how it handled the situation.
“When they escorted me out of the building, they basically escorted me through … where people could see me, like they’re sitting there watching.”
She said she wants a formal public apology from the Regina airport.
“They never even once at the end came to me to apologize, to say, ‘We’re sorry you had to go through this. We were only doing our job,’ which I fully understand.”
Britton was rebooked for new flights to Toronto and Peru for Thursday. She said she won’t be taking any electronics on those flights.