Police Threaten To Arrest Stranded Southwest Airlines Passengers Waiting In Long Lines

Police threatened to arrest stranded Southwest Airlines passengers at the Nashville airport if they didn’t leave the gate area (‘secured side’). They were told if they need help, exit security and go to the ticket counter.

In the video, the officer incorrectly claims that since their flight was cancelled they have no ticket and are therefore “trespassing.” “If your ticket was cancelled, you no longer have a ticket. You understand that, right?” In fact they have tickets. They no longer have reservations.

According to the officer in the first video, “Southwest is calling us” so they’re responding to the airline calling the police on their customers. I certainly feel for the overwhelmed employees, but that’s a bad look.

WOW: Nashville airport cop threatens to arrest stranded passengers who are standing in line at a Southwest counter to rebook their cancelled flights (1/2) pic.twitter.com/UARLErYdSZ

— Brad Batt for TN State Sanity ✊🏼✊🏽✊🏾 (@bradbatt) December 28, 2022

The officer then claims in the second video that “if you’re told to leave and you refuse to leave.. you don’t have a valid ticket, your ticket got cancelled…” then you’re trespassing and must leave. The officer was not able to “cite the statute” and said he doesn’t need to do so, that the passenger can “look it up.”

A lawyer asks the cop to cite the law he was threatening to arrest them under. He cannot. (2/2) pic.twitter.com/unNHgzxYKl

— Brad Batt for TN State Sanity ✊🏼✊🏽✊🏾 (@bradbatt) December 28, 2022

By the way, even if your flight is cancelled you can proceed through the TSA checkpoint with the boarding pass of a cancelled flight. Airline customer service is usually after security, and a more efficient place to look for help than the ticket counter. Airline clubs (not helpful for Southwest passengers) are also one of the best places to get help when you flight is cancelled, and those are usually past security.

Still, for stranded Southwest passengers it may not make sense to wait in long lines. Southwest agents have only limited ability to rebook passengers, onto seats that aren’t available and on flights that may not operate.

Unfortunately passengers need to take matters into their own hands, hold out hope for a Southwest flight or buy a ticket on another carrier if they can, look to credit card trip and baggage delay coverage if they can, and see a reimbursement of ‘reasonable’ costs from Southwest.

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