Thousands of passengers’ bags piling up at Phoenix airport due to TSA glitch

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PHOENIX — Flying out of Phoenix to head to a wedding or another special event? Don’t put that suit or nice dress in a checked bag.

There’s no telling when it will show up.

Thousands of checked bags were piling up Thursday at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix after technical issues prevented the Transportation Security Administration from using machines to screen the luggage.

The result was more than 3,000 bags missing flights, said Nico Melendez, a spokesman for the TSA.

“TSA is experiencing significant, unprecedented technical issues with its computer server,” Melendez added.

Many of the bags were stacked up in a parking lot while their owners went on to their destinations.

“It’s frustrating, yes. I’m tired, tired as everybody else,” one passenger told CNN affiliate KNXV. “I thought if this had happened before maybe there would be a better system in place.”

Another traveler told CNN affiliate KPHO that some bags were being checked by hand. Mindy McLarren told the Phoenix station that she was told officials would “eventually get the bag to us.”

She added: “It’s very stressful because I hope that everything that I packed is still in there after people have hand-checked it. And just that it gets there on time.”

McLarren said she took things out of a bag to be checked and put them in her carry-on.

The problem began Thursday morning at 6:45, the TSA said. Officers switched to an alternative system and brought in additional bomb-sniffing dogs as the bags kept coming. Later in the day, officials brought in tractor-trailers to take some of the bags to other airports.

Officials advised passengers to go to the airport early and to avoid checking bags when possible. Flights were leaving as scheduled.