Hundreds Stranded Due to Grounded Flights

The cancellation of several Air France (searchflights to Los Angeles stranded hundreds of people in Paris on Christmas Eve, spoiling holiday travel plans amid fears of a terrorist attack.

Despite the high state of alert, some passengers said the scare wouldn't deter them from trying to make it to the states on Thursday.

"I feel fine about taking other flights, you've got to stick with it," said Nigel Pickett, a tourist from London.

His travel companion, Judy Burns of Manchester, England, said she was undaunted by the scare.

"There is a lot of conflict," Burns said. "You can't let it rule your life. You've got to take your chances."

The cancellations came almost exactly two years after the arrest of so-called "shoe bomber" Richard Reid (search), who was on a Paris flight.

Reid, a British convert to Islam, was arrested Dec. 22, 2001, when he tried but failed to detonate explosives in his shoes on American Airlines flight No. 63 from Paris to Miami. He was sentenced to life in prison.

In this case, Air France canceled several passenger flights to the United States over Christmas based on "credible" information that passengers posing a security risk were planning to fly from Paris to Los Angeles, the French prime minister's office said.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin (searchsaid the decision to order cancellations came early Wednesday after American authorities notified France that "two or three" suspicious people, possibly Tunisian nationals, were planning to board the flights.

The United States handed French authorities the names of suspicious people who may have intended to board the flights but nobody using those names went through airport security checks, the Interior Ministry said, adding that no arrests were made.

No more flight cancellations were expected, the spokesman said.

Three of the flights were scheduled to depart Wednesday -- two from Paris and one from Los Angeles. Air France gave the flight numbers as 68, 69 and 70.

The three other flights were scheduled to leave on Christmas Day -- two from Los Angeles and one from Paris. Air France listed those flight numbers as 68, 69 and 71.

The airline said it had arranged overnight accommodations for several hundred passengers whose flights had been canceled.