Nashville airport apologizes for 'unfortunate incident' with police threatening to arrest Southwest passengers

The Nashville International Airport apologized for an "unfortunate incident" involving an airport police threatening to arrest Southwest Airlines passengers for trespassing after their flights were canceled earlier this week.

The altercation in Tennessee was the latest in a string of problems Southwest Airlines faced over the last week.

"The extraordinary number of flight cancellations over the last week caused great stress for our travelers, and included an unfortunate incident involving a passenger, airline staff, and a BNA officer," the airport said in a statement. "We are deeply sorry that this occurred and have taken this situation to heart. We are working with Southwest Airlines, and our other carriers, to foster better communication among team members so that every traveler enjoys the optimal experience at BNA."


A Nashville airport police officer threatened to arrest a group of Southwest Airlines customers last week after they gathered to inquire about their delayed flight as the air carrier experienced heavy disruptions to its operations amid a severe winter storm that battered parts of the country. 

The Christmas day incident was captured on video by a passenger. Amani Robinson was with her mother, Shelley Morrison, trying to make a flight to Cleveland to be with family, when they recorded the alleged threat, Fox 59 reported. 

"You said you’re going to arrest people for trespassing, for being at a ticket counter for a flight?" Morrison asks the officer. 

Southwest Airlines told Fox Business that its employees sometimes "call on law enforcement officers to assist with crowd control efforts during irregular operations such as this week’s operational challenges."

The news outlet said a Southwest Airlines employee requested for an airport police officer to escort passengers from the C Concourse to the pre-security ticket counter.

The officer seen in the video claims the passenger’s flight was canceled, making their boarding pass invalid. However, Morrison and Robinson said it wasn’t until a little after 4 a.m. that they found out their flight was officially canceled, according to the news outlet. 

Southwest issued a public apology this week as customers experienced delays and cancelations that significantly disrupted travel during the holiday weekend. 


In a video posted to Twitter, Southwest's Chief Commercial Officer Ryan Green announced new resources for customers dealing with flight cancelations with no opportunity to rebook to those waiting for lost luggage.

"You know by now all of the flexibility and planning that we put in place to deal with the storm just wasn't enough," Green said.

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