Passenger recounts lapses in security that led to airport arrest


COLONIE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A traveler who was booked on a flight to Nashville on Allegiant Air said there were plenty of warning signs before things got out of hand in the terminal.

“It was such a party atmosphere. This felt like I was at a Super Bowl or at a concert. It was not an airport,” said Marie Paska.  

Paska was supposed to be on her way to a birthday getaway with her boyfriend. But it turned into a turbulent evening as she waited with her partner to board the flight. 

“You could just see the tension happening,” Paska said.  

By the end of the night one woman was arrested for breaching security, but Paska described alcohol-fueled fights breaking out in a rowdy crowd of about 20 people.  

“It makes me feel very apprehensive to fly out of the Albany Airport right now. I don’t know if the next time is going to be safe,” Paska said.  

Jamie Ecker was charged with breaching security in an attempt to get her luggage after a mechanical issue grounded the plane. This is the second breach that’s happened at the airport recently. 

Stan Johnson is accused of sneaking into the airport and making his way into an airplane’s cockpit two weeks earlier.  

“People that fly Allegiant are should be cautious,” said Sheriff Craig Apple.  

Apple did not mincing his words on the incident. He said he’s meeting with the airport this week. Albany International also faulted the airline.  

“Allegiant Air jeopardized the safety and security of that airport. One of my officers was hurt in that scruff, and I’m extremely upset about it,” Apple said.  

NEWS10 ABC was unable to reach Allegiant Air or Silk Saratoga Bistro, the restaurant accused of overserving passengers.  

“There was the airline that wasn’t there for us passengers. There wasn’t the airport management, TSA didn’t come over. There was no responsible party, and now it sounds like a blame game,” Paska said.  

The traveler said the finger pointing needs to stop, and someone needs to make sure this doesn’t happen again.  

“I want to know when I fly out of there that myself and my fellow passengers are safe,” Paska said. 

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