Power may have been restored in Atlanta airport after outage in the world’s busiest airport but troubles will persist for the next couple of days for travelers.
For one, thousands of people remain stranded Monday morning at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. More than a thousand flights were grounded perilously just mere days before the start of the anticipated Christmas travel rush.
A mere underground electrical facility triggered the fire and practically brought the airport to a standstill Sunday around 1 p.m. and caused the massive travel woes.
All outgoing flights, as well as arriving planes, were held on the ground at their point of departure. Officials also said that international flights were being diverted. Hardest hit was Delta Air Lines, with its biggest hub based in Atlanta.
The tracking service FlightAware.com says Delta canceled nearly 900 flights on Sunday night and additional 300 flights on Monday, almost all of them in Atlanta. It is expected that Delta’s operations will revert to normal only on Tuesday.
Passengers experienced various forms of airport “nightmares” when the airport practically shut down. There were many passenger arrivals but no one for a time was going out. No official word and relevant information are being given at the start of the chaos to passengers.
There were also complaints that the first responders were not quick enough to get the disabled and the elderly through the airport without the use of escalators and elevators. There were elderly people and handicapped individuals in wheelchairs lined up and feeling helpless since they could not use the stairs to go down.
Restaurants and shops were also closed; vending machines were not working as well, leaving many travelers not only frustrated but hungry, and even angrier.
There were passengers who got stuck in a plane on the tarmac for three excruciating hours after the plane landed.
Georgia Power says the utility believes a piece of equipment in an underground electrical facility may have failed that caused the fire. The fire that broke out was dangerously just next to the equipment for a backup system, unfortunately causing it to fail as well.
Airport workers distributed bottled water to passengers stranded in the airport, while a doughnut company gave out free products to the hapless passengers.
The Atlanta airport serves an average of 275,000 passengers daily, with almost 2, 500 planes arriving and departing daily.