Unattended box of Christmas goodies leads to evacuation, flight delays at SLO airport

Two flights were delayed and the terminal building was evacuated at the San Luis Obispo Regional Airport for about an hour Tuesday morning because of a suspicious package that turned out to be a box of Christmas cookies and candy canes.

A pilot of a U.S. Airways plane bound for Phoenix at 6:40 a.m. found the package that was left in the front part of the plane overnight by a previous flight crew, said Craig Piper, the airport’s assistant general manager.

“It was inadvertently left there,” Piper said. “We went through all of the proper precautions."

Piper said the pilots from the previous flight couldn’t immediately be reached and that’s why the evacuation took place.

But once contacted, the pilot described the gift in detail and the box was opened to discover the cookies and candy canes.

“Everything went smoothly,” Piper said. “The passengers didn’t appear upset and we got them back on the plane once the package cleared.”

The Phoenix flight and a delayed United Airlines plane bound for San Francisco have successfully departed, Piper said.

--Nick Wilson