I can't see the justification for having 'activated a national alert system for all planes in flight' ...A flight attendant smelled smoke and confronted Madadi, 27, who joked that he "was trying to light my shoes on fire" to mask the smell of the bathroom before proceeding to his seat, U.S. law enforcement officials said. The attendant challenged Madadi again, one of the officials said, and notified the air marshals on the plane when he declined a request to hand over his lighter. That is when Madadi's business trip to Denver started to become a minor international incident. The marshals talked to Madadi briefly, confined him to his seat, and activated a national alert system for all planes in flight through the pilot. Fighter jets were scrambled, and President Obama was warned about a possible terrorist threat.
Hundreds of passengers for United, Continental, Delta and other airlines found themselves milling in the terminal or lined up on the sidewalk until they could be scanned. Trevino said she did not know what was inside the bag that prompted it to be flagged. She also said it was not immediately clear how the man was able to get through security before his bag was double-checked without being stopped. The incident took place just hours after LAX increased police patrols Wednesday night through early Thursday following an incident in which authorities say a diplomat from Qatar tried to smoke a cigarette in the bathroom of a plane headed from Washington, D.C., to Denver, then joked about lighting his shoe. LAX increased police patrols as a precaution.