BWI false fire alarm disrupts baggage, delays flights

Several flights were delayed at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport Sunday morning when a false fire alarm automatically shut down the baggage area for Southwest Airlines, one of the airport's largest carriers, officials said.

While authorities ultimately determined there was no fire on the conveyor belt system that transports baggage, the delay from the alarm and investigation caused some complications for travelers during the busy year-end holiday season.

"It did cause a little bit of the delay. Of course, with the holiday many people were traveling with luggage," Southwest spokeswoman Katie McDonald said.

McDonald said flights were held in order to ensure travelers and baggage were on the same plane. She said all luggage was en route to its destination by 1 p.m., and flights were back on time.

The problem appeared to only affect Southwest Airlines.

AAA Mid-Atlantic predicted 106,900 Marylanders would travel by air during the holiday travel season, which began Saturday and ends Jan. 1. About 1.9 million Maryland residents are expected to travel during that period, primarily by car.

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