3,000 passenger bags miss flights in Phoenix

Posted at 3:22 PM, May 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-13 09:20:20-04

A solution has been found to the problem that kept thousands of bags from traveling with their owners to flights leaving Phoenix's Sky Harbor Airport on Thursday.

Transportation Security Administration Officials say baggage screening systems are back up in running at the airport after experiencing major delays.

The TSA called the technical issues with its computer server significant and unprecedented.

Officials say testing will continue throughout the night in preparation for Wednesday's scheduled operations.

On Thursday afternoon, more than 3,000 bags at Sky Harbor were not able to be screened at the airport. Those bags were either driven to airports in nearby states to be screened and then sent to their final destinations, or hand screened depending on the airline.

Several Southwest Airlines passengers who spoke with ABC15 in Phoenix in the midst of the issue said their bags could be delayed 24-48 hours, based on what gate agents told them.

TSA blamed their computer network for disrupting their automated bag-screening system.

Three airlines that fly out of Sky Harbor responded to questions from ABC15.

American Airlines said passengers would be given a code to track their luggage. The airline will reimburse passengers for items that are immediately necessary but were stuck in stranded luggage.

Delta Airlines said luggage operations were running normally, but advised passengers to ask gate agents any questions.

Southwest Airlines had started the process of trucking 1,500 bags to Las Vegas to be screened, and then sent to be reunited with passengers at their destinations. An update from the airline on the status of that process was not available Thursday night.

Airport officials were advising passengers to avoid checking luggage if possible.

One family traveling to Texas for the weekend says they can't take the chance of checking their bags.

"We're coming back on Sunday so there's no use in us sending the stuff over if it's going to get there two days later," said Leanne Litson. "It's a big hassle."

This kind of inconvenience is the last thing people want when traveling.

"It's frustrating, yes. I'm tired, as tired as everybody else but you know it's just something I guess that goes on," said Brenda Dennison, who is traveling to Ohio. "I thought that maybe if this had happened before, maybe there'd be a better system in place or something."

Passengers were told to either carry on as much as they can, or check their bags.  

"I'm going to trash all of my liquids and take the luggage with me and gate check," said Nicole Vogus. "I'd rather be guaranteed to have my luggage with me then to not have them get on my flight."