Bay Area eclipse travelers stranded in Austin after airport mishap led to 3-hour lines

J.R. Stone Image
Thursday, April 11, 2024
Bay Area eclipse travelers stranded in Austin after airport mishap
Southwest Airlines says its operations at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport are back to normal after a mishap and influx in eclipse travelers.

AUSTIN, Texas (KGO) -- Southwest Airlines says its operations at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Austin, Texas are now running smoothly after a mishap led to long lines and delays following an influx in travelers due to the eclipse.

Chris Feyling of Hayward was in Austin with others from the San Francisco Bay Area for the eclipse. He reached out to us Wednesday after his group waited in three-hour lines to check their bags, and then missed their flight.

RELATED: Eclipse Across America: Millions of Americans witness a rare total solar eclipse

Feyling is still there and has been rebooked on a flight back to California on Friday.

Those from the airport tell us the baggage line went out of the terminal and down the street.

Airport representatives say it has been very busy since after the eclipse.

Austin-Bergstrom International issued this statement Thursday:

AUS travelers have encountered longer than usual lines for passenger processing activities since Monday afternoon, just after the eclipse. On Wednesday, April 10, lines for Southwest Airlines check-in extended outside the terminal doorways and down the road, starting at approximately 10 a.m. through the early evening. The airport-maintained baggage handling system for checked luggage was temporarily offline for several airlines at around 10:45 a.m. This was expected by the airport authorities due to the high volume of travelers. Our teams responded fast and were able to get the system back online within minutes. During the 15 - 20 minute period the system was offline, airport teams hand-carried airline luggage so that our airline partners could continue to check-in their customers. Airport operations and all other airlines were able to resume normal operations in less than an hour.

Around 11 a.m., our teams quickly pivoted to provide face-to-face support to customers who encountered lengthy delays to check their luggage with their airline. While the airport cannot check luggage on behalf of an airline, we were able to help keep lines safe, orderly and manageable while Southwest teams worked hard to process all their customers. We are prepared to provide the same service and response to travelers and our partners at Southwest and all other airlines for as long as the high volume of travelers with checked luggage continues.

Southwest Airlines issued this statement on Thursday:

First, our Austin operations are running smoothly today.

Wednesday's situation was the result of the airport-operated bag belt being down for a period time and a high number of customers flying out of Austin. We encourage Customers traveling this week to arrive earlier than usual to allow ample time to check their bags before their flights. We apologize to anyone inconvenienced by yesterday's issues and appreciate their patience as we assisted each Customer with their individual needs.

Now Streaming 24/7 Click Here

If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live