A power outage at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport left tens of thousands of holiday travelers stuck in limbo Sunday afternoon and Monday morning, including some trying to get to and leave Sacramento.
Delta Flight 2357 was supposed to depart Sacramento International Airport at 6:35 a.m. Monday, but was canceled to relieve pressure on the swamped Atlanta airport. Another flight scheduled to arrive at SMF from Hartsfield-Jackson International at 12:19 p.m. was canceled as well.
Three flights from Sacramento to Atlanta and two headed the reverse direction were nixed Sunday following the 1 p.m. outage before power was restored at Hartsfield-Jackson around midnight. Georgia Power CEO Paul Bowers told “Good Morning America” that a switch failure sparked a fire that debilitated the airport’s main and backup systems.
Anthony Foxx, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation from 2013 until January, called the blackout a “total and abject failure” after being stranded on Sunday afternoon.
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Hartsfield-Jackson International is the world’s busiest airport, with more than 104 million passengers landing or taking off in 2016, per Airports Council International data. The Delta hub had 10 percent more enplanements and deplanements than Beijing Capital International Airport.
Bowers said the outage is expected to hamper Hartsfield-Jackson International until the end of the week. The airport’s electronic boarding pass system remained offline as of Monday morning, forcing passengers to wait in long lines for paper tickets.
Sacramento International Airport will likely see its largest crowds Dec. 21-23, followed by additional rushes from Dec. 26-30 and on Jan. 2 as people fly home from Christmas celebrations, airport spokeswoman Laurie Slothower said. Nearly 70,000 more seats are available for travelers this December compared to last.
Passengers are recommended to arrive at SMF two hours in advance, and can monitor available parking on the airport website. Boarding Area Relaxation Corp. (BARC) dogs will walk the terminals from Dec. 20-24, and live music is scheduled for the same dates.