Updated: Jan 3
Nashville airport officials apologized after a viral video showed airport police threatening to arrest Southwest Airlines customers with canceled flights, reports The Tennessean. Airport spokesperson Paul Lindsley said, "The extraordinary number of flight cancellations ... caused great stress for our travelers, and included an unfortunate incident involving a passenger, airline staff, and an [airport] officer. We are deeply sorry that this occurred and have taken this situation to heart." The video prompted questions about what authority the officers had. It showed an officer approaching people in line at a service desk on Christmas night inside an airport concourse. The officer said those with canceled tickets needed to leave the secured area and go to a pre-security ticket desk for help. He told them they would be arrested for trespassing if they did not leave.
Shelley Morrison who was traveling with her three children. Her daughter, Amani Robinson, a Nashville resident and Tennessee State University student, filmed the interaction. The video went viral on TikTok and across social media. Before the officers arrived, Morrison said, a Southwest Airlines employee announced that the employee was leaving and security had been called. That left one worker to handle the long line of people. Nobody told the people waiting they had to leave, Morrison said. Southwest Airlines spokesperson Chris Perry said the company commonly relies on law enforcement officers to assist with crowd control, and customer and employee safety.