Monday’s shooting scare at Dallas Love Field caused a temporary halt of flights that cascaded into more than 100 cancellations, delaying travelers not only heading out of town but the arrival of hundreds of others.
Flights at Dallas Love Field were allowed to resume at 2:30 p.m. Monday, but it took hours for planes to start operating normally again. Nearly a third of Love Field’s arriving and departing flights were called off Monday and dozens more were delayed until the evening after a woman opened fire toward the airport ceiling and was quickly shot by a Dallas police officer on site.
Hundreds of passengers awaiting flights were ushered out of the airport’s terminal and many went home. Others had to go through security again before they could get back into the terminal.
Dallas Police Chief Eddie García said a 37-year-old woman was dropped off at the airport about 11 a.m., went inside the bathroom and came out wearing a hoodie. She then pulled out a gun, aimed it toward the ceiling and fired several shots, García said. Only the shooter was injured, according to police.
However, it took more than an hour after the ground stop was lifted for a flight to leave the airport because passengers were evacuated and had to get back through security and check bags. Most of Southwest’s flights through 6 p.m. Monday were canceled, airline spokesman Chris Perry said.
The airport reopened officially around 3:30 p.m., but with “residual delays,” said Love Field spokeswoman Lauren Rounds.
Closing down operations at a major airport even for a few hours causes delays across the country. Love Field is dominated by Southwest Airlines and is the smaller of two airports serving North Texas. It was scheduled to handle 366 commercial flights Monday with more than 56,000 passengers.
As of 6 p.m, 107 flights for the day were canceled – about 30% of Love Field’s schedule. Dozens more were delayed.
Southwest Airlines issued a travel waiver for Love Field passengers through Tuesday to allow them to rebook flights to the same destination without facing any kind of fee or having to pay the difference for booking a different flight.
As one of Southwest’s largest hubs, flight cancellations in Dallas trickle through the carrier’s nationwide network. Southwest had 262 cancellations Monday across the U.S., about 6% of all of its flights, according to flight-tracking website Flightaware.com. Thunderstorms in the northeast also hampered operations Monday.
When police responded to the initial report of an active shooter, the airport evacuated the building and began shelter-in-place operations. Even after police secured the scene, the airport was off limits to passengers and employees as law enforcement officers investigated. Evacuated passengers who had already gone through Transportation Security Administration screening lines had to be screened again.
Joan and Roger Chamberlain were sitting at a gate waiting for their Southwest Airlines flight to Las Vegas when they saw a rush of people headed from the security area.
“People just started running like crazy,” said Roger Chamberlain of Dallas.
Their flight was delayed shortly after as the Federal Aviation Administration and the airline halted operations. About an hour later, they were told to leave the airport. With no updates on when the airport might fully reopen and no chance of making their connecting flight in Las Vegas, they decided to go home.
“I think we’re not going to catch that flight or the connecting flight,” Joan Chamberlain said nearly two hours after the shooting as she was leaving the airport. “No one’s going anywhere.”
1/29Dallas Police Chief Eddie García walks to talk to the press as Dallas police investigate reports of a shooting at Dallas Love Field airport on Monday, July 25, 2022, in Dallas, TX. A ground stop was issued at Love Field airport Monday morning after a woman fired several shots inside the terminal, Dallas police said.(Juan Figueroa / Staff Photographer)