CINCINNATI -- The world’s busiest airport was at a standstill Sunday.
A power outage left thousands of passengers stranded in dark terminals and in planes sitting on the tarmac at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Atlanta is the heart of the U.S. air transport system, and the disruption led to flight delays and cancellations across the country.
Delta officials said hundreds of flights into Atlanta Monday have already been canceled. Delta canceled 900 flights into the airport Sunday. Power was restored to the airport's atrium and concourses T, A and B at about 11:20 p.m. Sunday.
Aviation expert Jay Ratliff said travelers flying from Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport to Atlanta should anticipate delays.
“When you have this major distribution hub where more than 10 percent of the daily flights go through in the course of a normal day that gets jammed up like this, it’s going to have a ripple effect from one end of the country to the other,” Ratliff said.
He suggested travelers arrive early and ask to be re-routed to a different hub.
“I’d get to the airport several hours early,” Ratliff said. “Get in front of an agent while you’re in line. Try to get through to somebody on the phone. Whoever you reach first, see what options are made available to you.”
It will be difficult to gauge just how Monday flights will be impacted until power is restored, Ratliff said.
“So it’s going to be a very trying situation for all the airline passengers over the course of the next day and a half as they basically hope the flight they’re booked on, the flight that they paid for is in fact going to operate,” Ratliff said.
More than six hours into the outage, power was restored to one of seven concourses. The utility said it expected full power to be restored by midnight.
Georgia Power said the cause has not yet been determined, though it may have involved a fire that caused extensive damage in a Georgia Power underground electrical facility.