Over A Dozen Dead After Explosions At Brussels Airport Check-In Hall

Filed Under: Travel

Terrible, terrible, terrible…

Per CNN, at least 13 are dead and dozens more injured, after three explosions went off at Brussels this morning, at around 8AM.

Two explosions went off at Brussels Airport in the check-in hall, one of which was apparently near the American Airlines check-in counter.

On top of that, another explosion went off at a Brussels subway station, leaving at least 10 more dead.

Both the airport and subway station are closed for the rest of the day.

While we don’t yet know who did it or what their motive was, this comes just a few days after the main suspect in November’s Paris attacks was caught in Brussels. It could be a coincidence, but…

Here’s a video of people fleeing the airport after the explosion:


What a horrible tragedy, and a relatable one at that, as I think all of us could imagine ourselves in the check-in hall of a major airport. My thoughts are with the victims and their loved ones.

Whenever I see this kind of news I just want to bubble wrap myself and never go outside again. But then I realize I’d be missing out on life, and that while this is horrible, it’s extremely rare. There are always risks in life, but the odds are in our favor.

Again, what a tragedy. Hopefully they find who did it pretty quickly and it’s not repeated (unfortunately the two aren’t mutually exclusive).

  1. Per Indian media sources there were 4 Jet Airways flights on the tarmac at Brussels Airport when the blasts took place. 2 crew members of Jet Airways are among the injured.

    The Delhi flight of Jet Airways had just landed when the blasts occurred so the pax and crew were not deplaned immediately. After a considerable wait all were deplaned and taken to a secure hold area.

    Killing of innocents is condemnable and dastardly.

  2. Blast at/near the American Airlines check in desks AA reporting that all of its employees there are accounted for and in injured.

  3. Time for all countries in europe close borders and walls up

    Correct id othrrwise your out.

  4. 2 explosions in the airport (as john said near the check desk American Airlines) and another explosion in the subway station Maelbeek. At the moment they are talking about 13 dead and 35 injured in the airport and 15 dead and 55 injured in the subway station. Horrible !

  5. Not sure exactly what Frutti Tutti is attempting to write? But, most of these people are actually born in Europe, so not sure what “walls up” would do…?

    Anyway, as someone who lives in France, we won’t let this attack scare us / stop us from living our lives. If we do that, the terrorists win. A vast majority of Muslims are our friends – we can’t allow these extremists to turn us against those who practice their faith peacefully, despite what the radical-right / Trump wants us to do.

    I’ll be traveling extensively next month and I will do so without any fear. If we live in fear, the terrorists win.

  6. And is “credit” really making a joke at the expense of dozens killed & hundreds injured ? What is wrong with people in this world?

  7. Agreed that the devaluation “joke” was incredibly tasteless, but Keith are you really making a cheap political point at the expense of dozens killed and hundreds injured? What is wrong with people in this world?

  8. @RoloT – What I said is 100% true – Trump will undoubtedly come out today and say something completely disgraceful and tasteless about this attack, and there will most likely be a racist point about Muslims as well. Daesh & other extremist organizations want us to hate Muslims – that is one of their goals. All I said is that we shouldn’t listen to the fodder that the GOP & Trump will come out and say today as doing so will only play into the hands of the terrorist groups.

    If you think that’s a “political point” at the expense of those who lost their lives, then I’m sorry you feel that way – I’m just pointing out the fact that the rhetoric we will see this afternoon from those on the right (the right in many countries throughout the world, not just the US) only helps Daesh’s cause.

  9. Curious if blowing oneself up by the American desk was coincidence or intentional?

    This is unfortunately the new normal. There are still way more regular people than Daesh (please use that term instead of ISIS as it’s insulting to them), so most of us can live our lives just fine. Sadly, they take some innocent people every now and then, yet even after all their handy work, they still haven’t picked up our interest in their ridiculous agenda is non-existent.

  10. I agree with Keith that our biggest defeat would be to have fear in our normal everyday life and turn that into rage toward innocent people.

  11. A STRONG message for all those complainers/inconformists/liberal/ungrateful who always complain that the security measures in the US are ‘too tight’ ‘disruptive’ ‘invasive’… What a small price to pay for safety!.

  12. @BBK This attack happened landside. Whether you think the TSA provides excellent security or elaborate security theater for airside operations, there is currently no screening that would prevent a similar check-in hall attack at an American airport.

  13. @Keith Well said, couldn’t agree more. As is apparent from the Islamaphobic posts in this comments section, there’s so much essentializing and generalizing that’s being done by the general public these days. The Trumps of this world are only making the problem worse, by doubling down on xenophobia/Islamaphobia, which in turn gives terrorists something to rally against. It’s a terrible cycle, and we shouldn’t forget that labeling an entire group an “enemy” is not only untrue, but unwise.

    I would hope that, on a blog that encourages travel, there would be fewer offensive comments toward Muslims, as we have traveled the world and witnessed firsthand the humanity of our fellow man, irrespective of religion. I have very fond memories in majority-Muslim countries, like Indonesia, Senegal, Morocco, etc.

  14. A tragedy that was expected. Belgium has became the playground of terrorists in Europe. Everyone know where they live and do nothing to eliminate them. For some things Europe is way ahead but for others they still live in the Stone Age. Very sad!!!

  15. @Ben L. I was like 3,2,1 expecting this response. And I’m also sure you know that the liberals praise the ‘relaxed’ security in general of European airports… I know it was in the always most vulnerable landside area.

    But America being the #1 Target for this kind of attacks (I’m also sure you already know that too)
    yet somehow it didn’t happen there. (God forbid).

    So sad that for some people the privacy of their bodyparts is a priority.

  16. @BBK/Ben: Don’t really get your point. What are you suggesting? That they add screen before people enter the check-in hall of airports? How what happened at the Brussels airport is any different than if that happened in a train station, bus station, shopping center, etc…? The fact it happened in an airport has nothing to do with security or extra screening. It could have happened anywhere. The reason they added screening and TSA at airports is to avoid terrorists with bombs on airplanes.

  17. The dangers of our hobby the more you fly the more likely you’d be in a plane crash, explosions etc

  18. @Santastico No, I’m not suggesting that at all. I’m saying it’s foolish of BBK to use this attack, and the lack of a similar one in the US to date, as a justification for current security practices. Like you imply, unless BBK is arguing that we should put the TSA screening outside the departure hall then he’s comingling two separate issues.

  19. @Santastico @Ben L. No, I’m not suggesting that your country should place additional screening.
    And I’m also completely sure that the current security practices don’t need any justification..
    or are you kidding me, with this situation all over the world .. They need?.

    The safety of the majority of the people goes well above the individual need for ‘privacy’ or selfishess.

  20. @BBK So let me get this straight. You’ve argued:

    1) American passenger screening procedures represent the current best practice
    2) European passenger screening procedures are too “relaxed”
    3) Somehow these “relaxed” passenger screening procedures represent a vulnerability that was exploited for this attack, even though the attack happened outside the secure area
    4) The more intense passenger screening procedures in America are necessary to keep a similar incident happening here, even though–just as in Brussels–the departure hall remains outside of the secure area

    Makes sense, keep going

  21. Maybe I’m the fool for trying to make sense out of your flailing attempt to connect current passenger screening practices and an attack in an unsecured landside departure hall

  22. @ Ben L.

    You’re arguing with someone who types like he’s missing a few fingers on each hand…don’t bother.

  23. It’s not islamaphobia, it’s islamarealism.
    Sure, the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful, but the prophet they are supposed to look up to and duplicate was a child raping swine who called for the execution of all non believers.
    “Religion of pieces” is an accurate portrayal based on what the most hardline believers do to follow their prophet’s teachings.

  24. Another tragic day for yet more families and friends. Unfortunately, no improvements in airport security procedures or such could avoid this – there will always be a bottleneck somewhere leading to a mass gathering of innocent bystanders; i.e. DEL prevents unticketed passengers from entering the terminal, which just leads to a mass of family members and friends gathering outside. The only ways to prevent such terror incidents are with proactive security services and increased surveillance of the public and immigrants.

  25. Terrorists have long recognised airports and railway stations for the soft targets they are; nothing new in that. China has the system requiring luggage to be x-rayed on entry, so does a number of other countries. It is hard to imagine that system working in most western countries .
    Sri Lanka used to have a system not only of X-ray on entry but also the requirement that passengers identify their luggage on the Tarmac prior to loading/boarding.

  26. The TBIT had armed Homeland Security officers guarding the front entrance when I flew out of there last summer. It was a little intense for 11am but I was glad to see it. Hopefully more airports willl add additional external security.

  27. @Grant, I’m pretty sure that Brussels had soldiers at the terminal as well and it didn’t help. You can see them in the videos that were taken moments after the bombing. There is really nothing you can do to prevent this type of attack if intelligence services or law enforcement does not identify the bombers in advance. Airports are a place where you have all sorts of people carrying large bags all the time and if you treated everyone with suspicion, the airport just couldn’t function. I don’t think society is willing to have everyone show up 3 hours early for every flight for TLV style security to avoid an occasional bombing or shooting.

    I’m personally still more worried on the drive to the airport…

  28. My employer is based on Brussels Airport – I was there this morning when this happened, I was in downtown Brussels Sunday night, and due to walk through the terminal to catch my early eurostar on Thursday morning – at the same time as this occurred this morning.

    Its a very sobering event – difficult to control, difficult to prevent, especially where it is, and other big city airports such as LHR, CDG, AMS etc are all in the same risk situation (the latter two are a simple train journey from Brussels).

    I was lucky, very lucky, not only that, but I have managed to get through the Eurotunnel via car this evening to type this from home in the UK.

    Brussels has its problems (I am there very frequently), but it is far from alone…

  29. I hope like hell the TSA doesn’t pull a knee-jerk reaction to this….

    I can see it now. Pre-screening area before the screening area. Long lines will ensue, an attacker will drop a bomb in the line… then we’ll end up with a Pre-Pre-screen area leading to a Pre-screen area leading to the screening area. Rinse, wash, repeat. It’s why we have nude-o-scopes, shoe carnivals, the War against Water, etc. By the time TSA reacts, it’s too late.

    And this sort of thing will likely happen in the USA because of egos of people in law enforcement/intelligence. Note that both the CIA & NSA were fully aware of Al Qaeda’s presence & activities within the US borders over a year before 9/11…and refused to share information with the FBI. Each agency wanted the victory for THEIR own scorecard. In the end, we all lost and those responsible within our government got promoted / their sins covered by calling things classified/secret material.

    I’m working on a case right now (non-terrorism, just your garden variety drugs/gun running case) and the various government agencies REFUSE to share information with each other. I share everything we have in our files, but when I start asking for a little reciprocity I get silence. When I talk with officers at other agencies, they’ll tell me they’ve never heard about the info I’m giving them. Scary. Flat-out scary.

  30. I am a liberal who romanticizes how europe could of been, one step closer in the long march to dissolving borders and petty tribalism, but if there is one thing these attacks have taught me is that the quality of human being needed for that to happen doesnt exist yet.

    Decades of delusional liberals with their heads in the sand letting the mosques and hate preachers have free reign without even trying to counter the ideas with speech never mind any police action, so many opportunities to act and make Islamic literalism/conservatism as taboo and socially unacceptable as homophobia and racism.

    Now with millions of people still with their heads in the sand, a select few are no doubt popping their heads out of the sand trying to make sense of all the explosions, looking for the bad guys who wear turbans and look like osama bin laden, sadly all they see is everyday people who look and talk like them.

    The saddest question of them all: Will the west wake up in time to save the world from police state anti muslim hysteria, sadly I doubt it.

  31. @ John – What you are railing against are called freedom of speech and freedom of religion. They go hand in hand with western, democratic societies. If you cannot stand these freedoms, it is very likely you are anything but the liberal you claim to be. Actually, you are the one with his head in the sand. Freedom of speech and freedom of religion have also encouraged the rise of Christian extremists who can be as violent as any other religious terrorists. Google Christian Identity and read about it yourself. In the meantime, save the high and mightiness for when you actually know what you are talking about.

  32. Chancer, smug much? I thought John’s comment was reasoned, balanced and spot-on.

    Oh, and please spare us the laughably lame “Christian moral equivalency”. You would be correct if this was the 7th century. In the 21st century there is no hate filled rhetoric coming from the pulpit of ANY Christian church in the western world. Bottom line, fnck these 7th century, 75 IQ, knuckle dragging zealots. They are truly the worst type of cowards as they never target a hard-target politician or banker, instead they go after poor slobs just eating pizza, attending a soccer match or trying to catch a flight? Way to win “hearts & minds.” I guess 7th century-era, plow-horse-like IQ zealots don’t care about that stuff.

    Read this Mr Know-it-all:

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