Officials at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport say the Transportation Security Administration is experiencing major delays in its checked bag screening system, resulting in thousands of bags stranded.
The TSA calls the technical issues with its computer server significant and unprecedented.
As of Thursday afternoon, over 3,000 bags are at Sky Harbor that are not able to be screened at the airport. Those bags will be driven to airports in San Diego, Los Angeles and Las Vegas to be screened, and will then be sent to their final destination.
— Ray Telles (@RayTellesABC15) May 12, 2016
A statement from the TSA reads in part:
The downed network has resulted in more than 3,000 bags missing flights. TSA is working diligently with our airline and airport partners and using alternative screening tools to screen bags, though those method are not as efficient as our automated system. TSA encourages passengers to continue to arrive at Phoenix Sky Harbor early.
TSA is currently bringing additional canine units from other airports and bringing in network specialists to address the situation and keep passengers safe and screen all bags.
Airport officials say they're advising passengers to avoid checking luggage if possible.
— Jon Erickson (@JonEricksonTV) May 12, 2016
Flights are departing as scheduled, but travelers' bags will be delayed getting to their final destination.
The TSA says it's not a safety issue and they're using alternative screening methods to get as many bags as possible on flights, but some are having to be sent to other destinations to be screened. The alternative process is more time consuming than their automated system.
There's no immediate word on when the issued with the checked bag screening system will be resolved.