It was a nightmare. Our flight was delayed so we sat in front of the gate, tired as always on this flight which starts at 4am German time, after a hot and long day in New York City. The terminal was full, people were already lining up in front of the Gate to embark the air plane.
When suddenly, out of nothing, all the people 5 meter to my right scatter explosively in panic and running into all directions. It happened in a split second and the whole terminal went from normal to panic for your life. I began to run for my life immediately, dropped all my belongings after 2 meters and just ran and ran with everyone else. I didn’t pay attention where to, just out out out. Away from what I supposed was some crazy guy with a gun shooting around right behind me. My colleague cried and screamed for her boyfriend who had been waiting elsewhere at the gate. We had run down some stairs and were now thinking about where to go to when suddenly a second panic started, people came running down the stairs screaming “RUUUUN” so we ran for our lives again, terrified at someone getting to us and all being shot. I ran onto the apron with hundreds of other people and started d searching for ou
r plane. Eventually I found it and climbed up the stairs and in when they were just closing the door. Inside panic in everyone’s eyes, crew and some random passengers from other flights who had saved themselves inside our plane.We were comforting passengers with kids and one small girl who had lost all her relatives on the run. After we heard the terminal had now been cleared, we asked the captain if we could
go inside to pick up our stuff which we had dropped, including passports, cell phones, documents, bags… she gave her permission under the condition that we stick together and come back in immediately. Outside when we grabbed all remaining crew bags, heavily armed police officers shouted at us “This way! Out!” pointing towards the other way. I said “no, we can’t. We have to get back to the airplane. Our captain is waiting for us in there.” They wouldn’t let us, shouting “go this way” so we stopped where we were and told him to inform our captain please that we couldn’t come back. So they went in with their guns and when they came back they scared us to death. Because we just saw the guns and thought “now he got us” for a split second. They yelled “arms above your head” which we did, then we were told to get out the terminal that way. Then they changed their minds and told us to get back inside. We went towards the plane but now the connecting door was locked and being stuck in a dead end was a terrifying sensation. What if the gunman got to us now? There was no escaping from there. So we went back into the terminal and were told to get out. The police officers led us out, but after 20 meters the officer said “sit down here, I don’t know what to tell you anymore.”
WHAT? I had called my boyfriend earlier when I was escaping to the plane and he then sent me news saying apparently shots had been fired and they haven’t found the suspect yet. So I
really didn’t feel like being inside in the terminal anymore. And where was the suspect now if police was acting this way?! Somewhere in here? 2 minutes later we already had to go on, leaving the terminal now for good. The whole terminal must have run as everybody seemed to have dropped everything. The floors were covered with bags, cell phones, shoes and spilled drinks. We were lead out the terminal where for the next 1 hour and 45 minutes we waited in front of the terminal and then next to it. We were 7 out of 19 crew members and decided to stay together. Much later when the terminal reopened
we were lead into our airline’s office and then decided we would fly back ‘dead head’ (not working) because we’d have to be 100% if working and we weren’t, some colleagues got injured on the run, many were crying from the shock and we also didn’t want to stay any longer in NYC and even less having to be alone in some hotel roomnow.
If I now read in the news it was all just a “false alarm” it’s hard to imagine how this could have people running for their lives and a severe mass panic in two different terminals.