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Delta Says Trans-Atlantic Flights Threatened

January 5, 1990

ATLANTA (AP) _ Delta Air Lines said Thursday it is stepping up security and giving passengers the option of canceling their reservations after receiving a ″general threat″ against its trans-Atlantic flights.

Delta spokesman Jim Lundy said the threat did not name a particular flight, city or day. He would not say when the threat was received or give other details.

Lundy said passengers were being notified of the threat upon check-in and were given the option of canceling or delaying their trips. Delta’s trans- Atlantic operations include flights to and from Germany, Ireland, England and France.

″At this point, we have no information that it is anything but a hoax,″ Lundy said. ″We’ve got to take it seriously. We do take it seriously.″

Lundy said federal authorities had been notified, but a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration, Arlene Salac, said the agency was not involved.

The intensified security will remain in effect until officials are sure the threat has ended or have confirmed it as a hoax, Lundy said.

Delta officials said early Thursday evening that only 20 to 30 of about 700 ticket holders on its four international flights scheduled out of Atlanta during the night had switched airlines.

Patrick Walsh and his wife of Belfast, Northern Ireland, said they switched from Delta to Swissair after hearing about the threat. The switch means they will arrive in Dublin six hours later than planned.

″You have two options about it, so you take the one you’re more comfortable with,″ Mrs. Walsh said. ″If we’d known about it sooner, we’d have stayed in Miami a little longer.″

Birgit Sekulin of Munich, West Germany, said her family of four switched to Lufthansa German Airlines, but the move made her feel only slightly better.

″First of all, we are a family. We don’t like to fly all four of us on the same plane if there are things like this,″ she said.

Roger White of Chicago, however, said he was not changing his flight plans. The bomb threat ″didn’t mean a thing about choosing an airline,″ he said.

Last week, a Northwest Airlines flight from Paris to Detroit received a bomb threat. After passengers were told they could cancel, the DC-10, which holds 284 passengers, made a safe flight Saturday carrying 22 passengers and 14 crew members.

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