Sea-Tac airport braces for Amanda Knox's arrival


by Associated Press and KING 5 News

Posted on October 4, 2011 at 2:25 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 4 at 2:29 PM

Free for the first time in four years, 24-year-old Amanda Knox is returning to her Seattle home after an Italian appeals court threw out her murder conviction for the brutal stabbing death of her British roommate, Meredith Kercher.

Knox family spokesperson Dave Marriott said Amanda and her parents are on a British Airways flight from London due to land at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport at about 5:15 p.m.   

Marriott confirmed Tuesday morning that a news conference will be held at the airport about a half-hour after the plane lands.He said Knox's parents, Curt Knox and Edda Mellas, and legal adviser Ted Simon are expected to speak to reporters. Marriott said whether Amanda Knox will talk is up in the air.

Media from around the world have descended upon Sea-Tac airport for Amanda's much anticipated arrival, from national TV networks to international media outlets.

The airport will have what they call "enhanced security" to help Amanda and her family get through customers without disrupting other passengers and airport operations.

Once she lands in Seattle, Amanda will walk off the plane with the rest of the passengers, according to Sea-Tac airport officials. They'll walk down to customs, where customs agents and border patrol will meet Amanda and her family.

The group will be checked individually, then Amanda and her relatives will be escorted by security to the south terminal of the airport. This is the type of protocol the airport uses for foreign dignitaries or special events.

"It's very attention getting." said Perry Cooper, Sea-Tac International Airport spokesperson. "We want to make sure security is there to make sure she can securely move from one place to another, obviously the attention that's there even from a public gathering situation. We want make sure she gets through. The faster she gets through, the rest of the folks going through customs will be able to get through as well too."

The airport plans to set up a podium in case Amanda and her family would like to speak to the media.

Friends and family anxiously await the arrival of the former University of Washington student, whose fate has captivated supporters.  A big blue sign with “Welcome Home!” in yellow writing was hung at the house of her father, Curt Knox, in West Seattle neighborhood.

“We’ve spent a lot of time waiting,” her uncle Michael Huff told The Associated Press Tuesday. “We’re planning a big hug. We’ll see day to day how it goes. She’s going to have to get acclimated. She’s a strong kid.”

Huff last spoke to his niece during her weekly call home Saturday, days before the appeals court overturned her conviction.

“She told us not to worry. We’re all going to be OK, no matter what,” said Huff. “She’s one of those people who looked out for someone else. She was more concerned about others.”

“We always talked about what we would do when she gets home... She wanted to lay down on the lawn, her grass,” he said.

Huff said his niece was able to manage the four-year ordeal because “she’s a strong kid. She’s unbelievable.”

Members of the group "Friends of Amanda" say they don't plan on greeting her at the airport. They're still recovering from Monday's all-night event watching the verdict. They say they'll wait until Amanda is ready to pick the time and a place to celebrate.