The pilot returned the plane to Charlotte, where firetrucks were waiting on the tarmac, Strauss told Channel 11's Aaron Martin.
American Airlines officials told WSOCTV.com no fire was reported on flight 5118 from Charlotte to Greensboro. According to officials, the flight landed safely in Charlotte at 8:32 a.m. and all passengers boarded another plane scheduled to land in Greensboro just before noon.
Strauss said the cheerleaders are OK.
The Pitt Panthers football team has a game Saturday against Wake Forest in North Carolina.