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Security grounds flight attendant

A Delta Airlines flight attendant at Buffalo Niagara International Airport was not allowed to fly Wednesday morning after he was spotted acting in a manner that a security officer deemed unfit for flight, according to authorities.

A Transportation Security Administration officer at a security checkpoint noticed the male flight attendant's irregular behavior and alerted Delta Airlines personnel, TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said.

Both the NFTA and Delta officials said the matter did not rise to the level of a security issue. There were no passengers aboard the Atlanta-bound plane when the attendant was removed.

"It was Delta's decision to remove the flight attendant from flying," said Gina Laughlin, a Delta spokeswoman.

The TSA officer's allegations against the flight attendant are now under review by the airline, she said.

The entire crew for Flight 1266, which was scheduled to leave at 6:15 a.m., passed through the security checkpoint and boarded the aircraft to conduct its preflight check, officials said.

But when Delta received word of the TSA officer's claims, airline officials removed the attendant and made arrangements for another flight attendant to be flown into Buffalo to replace him, Laughlin said.

Once the staffing change was made, the flight departed after a three-hour delay.

Delta is deeply concerned any time it receives a complaint of this nature, and that is why it took the proactive step of removing the flight attendant, Laughlin stressed.

"We were contacted by TSA early this morning regarding their allegation that one of our flight attendants appeared unfit for duty. We take allegations very seriously, and we are working to confirm the accuracy," Laughlin said.

Attention to the stability of airline personnel has heightened recently, with the most recent incident involving a JetBlue captain behaving in a bizarre manner last week in the passenger cabin.

The Delta incident was not regarded as a security issue, Niagara Frontier Transportation Administration spokesman C. Douglas Hartmayer said.

"It was an internal matter that is being handled by Delta Airlines," Hartmayer said.

email: lmichel@buffnews.com