According to a US counter terrorism official, the plot was discovered before it threatened any Americans, and no airliners were at risk, CNN reported.
A non-metallic explosive device like the one used in the failed attempt to bomb a Detroit-bound jet in 2009 was recovered, the official said.
It was meant for use by a suicide bomber, the official added.
Soon after the news of the foiled plot broke, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said: "What this incident makes clear is that this country has to continue to remain vigilant against those that would seek to attack this country. And we will do everything necessary to keep America safe."
The White House said Monday that President Barack Obama learnt in April of an Al-Qaeda affiliate's foiled plot to blow up a US-bound airliner, Xinhua reported.
The White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said Obama had also been assured that the device did not pose a threat to the public.
"The president thanks all intelligence and counterterrorism professionals involved for their outstanding work and for serving with the extraordinary skill and commitment that their enormous responsibilities demand," said Hayden.
A spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, however, said authorities have "no specific, credible information regarding an active terrorist plot against the US at this time," although they continue to monitor efforts to carry out such attacks.
The threat was foiled around the same time as the anniversary of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, an other US counter terrorism official said, although the attempted attack was not timed to coincide Osama's death, CNN reported.