A passenger aboard an AirTran flight bound for Atlanta was pulled from the aircraft Friday morning after talking about explosives and Pakistan, Tampa International Airport officials said.
Douglas Allen Most, a local tile setter, was released after being questioned by airport police, FBI agents and Transportation Security Administration officials, said Tad Hutcheson, AirTran's vice president of marketing.
The incident started before passengers boarded Flight 120, when a man inside a men's bathroom overheard Most's conversation about current events, "including the war and the USF student case," according to an airport news release.
The name of the man who overheard the conversation was not released, but airport officials said he is the owner of a security consulting firm. He saw Most, 36, boarding his same flight and told a gate agent, who alerted the captain.
Airport police and Transportation Security Administration officials removed Most while the remaining passengers and their bags were re-screened, said airport spokeswoman Brenda Geoghagan. Nothing was found.
Most was cooperative while being questioned and acted confused "about what is going on and his reported suspicious behavior," the release said.
Still, "the comfort level goes down when people get too specific about details about explosives," Geoghagan said.
The remaining 44 people on the flight, 39 passengers and 5 crew members, left for Atlanta. AirTran officials say the flight departed at 8:32 a.m., more than 11/2 hours after the flight's scheduled 7 a.m. takeoff.
Most was released at 9:40 a.m. Airport officials say he was bound for San Diego.
Hutcheson, the AirTran spokesman, said the man who alerted gate agents did the right thing.
"You can't joke around with anything, any threat like that," he said. "There was an inconvenience, but you need to take all the precautions necessary."