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Security ordeal for Qantas boss

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SYDNEY, Australia (CNN) -- The female head of Australia's major air carrier was suspected of being a terrorist at a U.S. airport because a security guard refused to believe a woman could run an airline.

Qantas Airways chairman Margaret Jackson has said she was detained and frisked at Los Angeles airport last year after a search revealed she was carrying aircraft diagrams in her briefcase.

Jackson gave details of the incident at a media conference in Beijing, China on Tuesday, in response to a question over the strictness of security at Australian airports.

She said her briefcase had contained detailed plans of a new aircraft, including cross-section diagrams showing seat layouts, Australian newspaper the Herald Sun newspaper reported Wednesday.

"The guy said 'Why have you got all of this?'," she said.

"And I said, 'I'm the chairman of an airline. I'm the chairman of Qantas'. And this black guy, who was, like, eight foot tall, said, 'But you're a woman'."

After proving her identity, Jackson produced paper with her letterhead on it and wrote a note to the guard, whose name was Bill.

"And I wrote, 'Dear Bill, this is from the chairman of Qantas, who is a woman'," the newspaper reported.

Jackson was in China to promote direct flights between Sydney, Australia and Beijing.

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