MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport was packed early Friday with travelers hoping to be aboard the planes returning to the air after being grounded for three days because of terrorist attacks on the East Coast.
All airlines operating from the airport planned to fly Friday, but carriers were flying only some of their scheduled routes. Northwest's pilots union said the airline was operating about 25 percent of its scheduled domestic flights, and "some" international flights.
At midmorning, a handful of travelers remained asleep on cots set up for stranded passengers on the mezzanine of the main terminal. Others waited in long lines at check-in counters to book and rebook flights.
Later, the crowds began to thin as more flights departed.
"I think people are quite calm," said Jim Streufert of Faribault, who had brought his mother to the airport for a flight to St. Louis to visit his brother.
"I think it's too bad we can't go to the gate to see people off," Streufert said as he watched the monitors to verify the plane's departure.
Shortly before 9 a.m., flight monitors showed 76 of 146 possible arrivals had been canceled. By 9:30, the number of arriving flights canceled was down to 56.
Northwest Airlines, which operates about 80 percent of flights at the airport, resumed its service at 6 a.m. Friday, when two flights left for Memphis.
Only three of the main terminal's six security checkpoints were open, but a Northwest Airlines employee directing passengers said travelers were "very understanding."
Passengers "have been very quiet and very assistful," said the man, who declined to give his name. "Things are moving along fairly well."
Though the Federal Aviation Administration lifted its moratorium on commercial flights Thursday, Northwest grounded its planes that evening amid security concerns on the East Coast. Sun Country, based in Mendota Heights, and other airlines continued to offer limited service.
Northwest's decision came as New York authorities shut down the area's major airports while FBI officials detained several people for questioning in the attacks.
At least 10 travelers of Middle Eastern descent were detained at two New York airports Thursday evening. On Friday, all were cleared of any connection with Tuesday's terrorist attacks.
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