Southwest passengers threatened with arrest on Christmas in viral video

Southwest Airlines was already having a terrible year’s end after an enormous winter storm pressured it to make flight cancellations that far outpaced these of trade rivals. Then, by some means, the PR nightmare obtained worse. 

At Nashville Worldwide Airport on Christmas night time, a police officer threatened to arrest stranded Southwest passengers in the event that they didn’t depart a secured space of the airport. A video of the incident went viral throughout social media after being posted by a passenger to TikTok. Different movies spreading on social media additionally captured components of the incident.

Within the video, which has been considered over 910,000 instances since being posted two days in the past, the officer warned passengers they need to depart the realm or they’d be “arrested for trespassing.” 

“Proper now,” he continued. “Everyone to the unsecured aspect. The ticket counter will enable you with any questions you will have.”

Shelley Morrison, who was among the many passengers along with her three daughters, had been in line at a Southwest gate hoping to get extra details about what was taking place along with her flight, according to the Tennessean.   

After she and others waited for almost an hour to get clarification, one of many staff introduced over the intercom that she was leaving—and calling safety. No person informed the passengers they needed to depart if that they had a canceled ticket, Morrison informed the native paper.

‘Southwest is asking us’

Two cops from the airport’s public security division quickly arrived on the scene, which is when Morrison’s daughter, Amani Robinson, began recording a video. 

An officer informed passengers within the video, “When you’ve got no ticket, you don’t should be on the secured aspect.” In response to somebody saying they did have tickets, he replied, “Your tickets simply obtained canceled.”

Morrison requested the officer once more about potential arrest, to which he reiterated, “In the event you don’t have a sound ticket and also you’re on the secured aspect and refuse to go away, you can be arrested…In case your ticket is canceled, you not have a ticket. You perceive that, proper?”

“Proper now, Southwest is asking us since you guys are congregating proper right here, and so they’re attempting to shut that gate,” he added.

The officer grew extra impatient as Morrison tried once more to “make the authorized connection,” as she stated within the video, telling him she’s an legal professional.

“Are you refusing to go away the secured aspect?” he requested pointedly. 

“No, I’m not refusing to go away,” she replied. “I’m asking for extra info. Are you able to cite the statue for me?”

“It’s airport and plane safety,” he replied.

“You don’t have a bit?” she requested.

“I don’t must provide the code. In the event you’re an legal professional, you’ll be able to look it up.”

Morrison thanked him and proceeded with others to the place he indicated.

Southwest responds

When contacted by Fortune, a Southwest spokesperson stated staff “didn’t request prospects to be escorted out of the gate space.” As a substitute, the corporate had requested “native enforcement to be current at a gate to help with crowd management efforts whereas our staff labored with prospects.”

A spokesperson for Nashville Worldwide Airport, additionally identified by airport code BNA, responded:

“The extraordinary variety of flight cancellations over the past week precipitated nice stress for our vacationers, and included an unlucky incident involving a passenger, airline workers, and a BNA officer. We’re deeply sorry that this occurred and have taken this case to coronary heart. We’re working with Southwest Airways, and our different carriers, to foster higher communication amongst staff members so that each traveler enjoys the optimum expertise at BNA.:

Fortune additionally reached out to the Division of Transportation in regards to the airport incident however acquired no instant reply.

Southwest passengers who tried to search out different routes confronted jacked-up costs from different airways, a few of which—confronted with public backlash—announced price caps on affected routes. 

The Division of Transportation stated this week it would open a probe into Southwest Airways. It wrote in a tweet that it was “involved by Southwest’s unacceptable fee of cancellations and delays & reviews of lack of immediate customer support. The Division will study whether or not cancellations had been controllable and if Southwest is complying with its customer support plan.”

This text has been up to date with the responses from Southwest Airways and the airport.

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