At Nashville International Airport on Christmas Eve, a police officer threatened to arrest stranded Southwest passengers if they did not leave a secure area of the airport. A video of the incident went viral on social media after it happened Posted by passenger to TikTok. Other videos circulating on social media also captured parts of 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.”
“Now,” he continued. “Everyone to the unsafe side. The ticket counter will help you answer any questions you have.”
Shelly Morrison, who was among the passengers with her three daughters, was queuing at the southwest gate hoping to get more information about what was going on with her flight, to me the Tennessee.
After she and others waited nearly an hour for an explanation, one of the workers announced via the intercom that she was leaving – and called security. Morrison told the local newspaper that he did not tell a passenger that they had to leave if they had a canceled ticket.
“The Southwest is calling us”
Soon, two police officers from the airport’s Department of Public Safety arrived at the scene, just as Morrison’s daughter, Amani Robinson, began recording a 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 tickets, he replied, “Your tickets just got cancelled.”
Morrison asked the officer again if he might be stopped, and he repeated to him: “If you don’t have a valid ticket and you’re on the safe side and you refuse to leave, you’ll be arrested… If your ticket’s canceled, they don’t have a ticket anymore. You understand that, right?”
He added, “Right now, Southwest is calling us because you guys are congregating here, and they’re trying to close that gate.”
The officer grew impatient when Morrison again tried to “establish a legal connection,” as she puts it in the video, and told him she was an attorney.
“Do you refuse to leave the safe side?” he asked clearly.
She replied, “No, I don’t refuse to leave.” “I ask for additional information. Can you mention the statue to me?”
He replied, “It is the security of airports and planes.”
“Don’t you have a department?” she asked.
“I don’t need to give you the code. If you’re a lawyer, you can look it up.”
Morrison thanked him and went with the others to where he had indicated.
when called luckA Southwest spokesperson said that employees “did not request that customers be escorted outside the gate area.” Instead, the company required “that local law enforcement be present at the gate to assist with crowd control efforts while our team works with customers.”
A spokesperson for Nashville International Airport, also known by the airport code BNA, responded:
“The sheer number of flight cancellations over the past week has caused great stress for our passengers, and included an unfortunate incident involving a passenger, airline staff and an LNA officer. We are very sorry this happened and we take this situation very seriously. We are working with Southwest Airlines and our other airlines to promote better communication between team members so that every traveler enjoys the optimal experience at BNA:
luck She also contacted the Ministry of Transport regarding the airport incident, but did not receive any immediate response.
Southwest passengers trying alternative routes faced higher fares from other airlines, some of which — faced public backlash —Announce a price cap on the affected roads.
The Department of Transportation said this week it would open an investigation into Southwest Airlines. He. She he wrote in a tweet It was “concerned by Southwest’s unacceptable rate of cancellations, delays, and reports of a lack of prompt customer service. The department will study whether cancellations are manageable and whether Southwest is complying with its customer service plan.”
This article has been updated with responses from Southwest Airlines and the airport.