At Nashville International Airport on Christmas Eve, a police officer threatened to arrest passengers stranded at Southwest if they did not leave the airport’s security area. A video of the incident went viral on social media after being Posted by a passengerer to TikTok. Other videos circulating on social media also partially capture the incident.
In the video, which has been viewed more than 910,000 times since it was posted two days ago, the officer warns passengers that they must leave the area or they will be “arrested for trespassing”.
“Right now,” he continued. “People come to the unsafe side. The ticket counter will help you with all your questions.”
Shelley Morrison, one of the passengers with her three daughters, lined up at the South West gate hoping to get more information about what was happening with her flight. based on the Tennessee.
After she and the others waited nearly an hour for clarification, one of the workers announced via the intercom that she was leaving — and called security. Morrison told the local newspaper that no one told passengers they had to leave if they had their tickets cancelled.
‘The Southwest is calling us’
Two police officers from the airport’s public safety department soon arrived on the scene, which is when Morrison’s daughter, Amani Robinson, began recording the video.
An officer tells passengers in the video: “If you don’t have a ticket, you don’t have to be on the safe side.” To someone who said they had a ticket, he replied: “Your ticket has just been cancelled.”
Morrison asked the officer again about the possibility of arrest, and he repeated, “If you do not have a valid ticket and you are on the secured side and refuse to leave, you will be arrested…If your ticket is you get canceled, you no longer have a ticket. You understand that, don’t you?”
“Right now, Southwest is calling us because you guys are gathering right here and they’re trying to close that gate,” he added.
The officer became more impatient when Morrison again tried to “make a legal connection,” as she says in the video, telling him she was a lawyer.
“Are you refusing to leave the safe side?” he asked bluntly.
“No, I don’t refuse to leave,” she replied. “I am asking for more information. Can you quote the statue for me?
“It’s airport and plane security,” he replied.
“You don’t have a part?” she asked.
“I don’t need to give you the password. If you’re a lawyer, you can look it up.”
Morrison thanked him and continued with the others to the place he indicated.
When contacted by Asset, a Southwest spokesman said employees “did not ask to escort customers out of the gate area.” Instead, the company asked “local law enforcement to be at the gate to assist with crowd control efforts while our team works with customers.”
A spokesperson for Nashville International Airport, also known by its airport code BNA, responded:
“The unusual number of flight cancellations over the past week has put a great deal of stress on our passengers, including an unfortunate incident involving a passenger, airline staff and a BNA officer. We are deeply sorry that this has occurred and have rectified the situation. We are working with Southwest Airlines and our other carriers to foster better communication among team members so that every passenger has an optimal experience at BNA.:
Asset also contacted the Department of Transport about the airport incident but did not receive an immediate response.
Southwest passengers trying to find alternative routes faced inflated prices from other airlines, some of which — faced public backlash —announced price ceiling on affected roads.
The Department of Transportation said this week it would open an investigation into Southwest Airlines. It wrote in a tweet that they were “concerned about Southwest’s unacceptable cancellation rates and delays and reports of a lack of timely customer service. The department will check to see if the cancellations are manageable and whether Southwest is following through with its customer service plan.
This article has been updated with responses from Southwest Airlines and the airport.
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