Ticketing and baggage belt issues cause long delays at Austin Airport

Travelers took to Twitter to express their anger at the airport’s handling of the delays.

When Austin Goldberg arrived an hour and a half early for his flight from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport Friday morning, he was sure he had plenty of time. He definitely didn’t expect to miss his flight. But he did.

A spokesperson for the facility said that an issue at the Southwest Airlines ticket counter led to a “domino effect” of significant delays throughout the airport. Dan Landson, a spokesperson for Southwest, said a variety of factors contributed to the delay. Hordes of people queued creeping out of the airport gates, some for three and a half hours, according to tweets from passengers.

“It was like a Disney World trip,” Goldberg said.

After standing in line for two hours to pass TSA PreCheck, a system designed to speed up the TSA screening process, Goldberg rushed to his gate, but his flight to New York had already boarded and the gate was empty. He was able to cancel the second leg of his American Airlines trip and book a new flight via Southwest, but he acknowledged that others might not be so lucky. He said he didn’t know if he would get a refund for the flight he missed.

Goldberg said a couple with young children in front of him missed their trip to Disney World, and the people behind him missed their trip to a wedding.

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Dozens of travelers like Goldberg shared their frustration, posting photos of the crowds at the airport on Twitter. Some said they missed their flights, and others complained about the alleged lack of communication at the airport.

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“Disappointed Major this morning… many, many passengers lost their flights including my family long after arriving at the airport,” said one Twitter user. books. “The lack of X-ray baggage scanners and the lack of staff is a major problem.”

The airport’s Twitter account responded to several concerns by tweeting information and an email address for travelers to send questions to: [email protected].

The airport says tickets and baggage equipment cause delays

Landson confirmed in an email that the airline experienced minor issues with the check-in system on Friday morning. He wrote that problems with the airport baggage belt and TSA checkpoints exacerbated delays at the airport. He apologized to customers affected by the delay and wrote that he appreciated their patience.

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A component of the airport’s baggage-handling system was temporarily offline Friday, with “cascading effects” on security lines, airport spokesman Billy Grimmett wrote in an email, adding that the airline is working with the Transportation Security Administration and airline partners to determine whether More action was needed.

“We look forward to introducing a new overseas baggage handling system and expanding and improving checkpoints through the Journey With AUS program,” Grimmett wrote.

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Southwest is a very popular airline at Austin Airport. Between January and October 2022, Southwest passengers accounted for approximately 6.7 million of the airport’s total passenger volume of 17.5 million. However, the airline has suffered delays in the past.

In late December, the airline canceled or delayed as many as 170 flights arriving in or departing through Austin. During the last 10 days of 2022, Southwest canceled about 16,700 flights nationwide, prompting an investigation by the US Department of Transportation. Winter weather contributed to some of the cancellations.

There was no connection

Many travelers, including Goldberg, expressed more frustration with the airport’s handling of delays than ticket problems at Southwest. Goldberg said that neither he nor the travelers near him received much guidance from airline staff even when they expressed concern about missing their flights.

“Nobody knew what was going on. They tried to connect people, but there was no connection,” Goldberg said. “There was no one to help us.”

In addition to the Twitter responses, the airline tweeted updates about the delays. Shortly before ten in the morning announce Operations have returned to normal but advised travelers to arrive two and a half hours early for domestic flights and three hours early for international flights.

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1 Twitter user Proposal Passengers arrive at the airport two hours earlier than their usual time of arrival through security.

Goldberg, who travels frequently for work, said he was used to airport delays but was disappointed with the airport’s efforts to get people to their destinations.

“Airports are airports, I get it. Flights get delayed because of weather and weather conditions, but that wasn’t the case. It was Austin’s operations and how they handled security that was wrong here,” Goldberg said. “This is a rare case in which I don’t blame the airline.”

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