Thousands of bags pile up in Phoenix after technical issue plagues TSA at Sky Harbor

Posted at 7:28 PM, May 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-12 21:31:00-04

By Steve Almasy


(CNN) — 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.”

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 where leaving as scheduled.

And you might just want to wear that special outfit on the plane.

CNN’s Artemis Moshtaghian contributed to this report.