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Over 3,000 bags stranded in Phoenix airport flap

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Posted at 12:22 PM, May 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-12 21:28:57-04

Officials at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport say the Transportation Security Administration is experiencing major delays in its checked bag screening system.

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 sent to airports in Los Angeles and Las Vegas to be screened, and will then be sent to their final destination.

Lindbergh Field was initially among the airports where bags were going to be sent, but officials ruled out San Diego's airport early Thursday evening.

TSA officials told ABC15 in Phoenix that individual airlines will choose how bags get to those locations to be screened.

TSA officials say there are issues with the computer server that automates the electronic screening of checked luggage.

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.

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.