I've experienced travel hell on American Airlines, out of Panama City. It was raining a bit, and for that reason, "All American Airlines flights out of Panama City are grounded."
They forgot that approximately half of the entire airport is built out of these huge ass transparent panes of what modern man likes to call "glass."
We could see out onto the tarmac, and the runways, and see other American flights taking off, landing, with planes from a bunch of different carriers doing the same thing. Only one plane wasn't moving; ours.
The gate agents refused to turn around to admit that they were wrong.
So yes, the desk people decided it was so much easier to face down a plane's worth of enraged, stressed traveling Custys and lie to their faces, than to turn around, see that other flights were working, and try to distribute people to other flights. Or give us the real reason why the plane wasn't going anywhere.
The end result was not pretty. I wonder if they ever cleaned up all of the bloodstains after the riot. </snark>