Mystery blackout at major airport in California strands holiday travelers
- The power went out at Oakland International Airport on Tuesday evening at around 6:30 p.m. local time, kicking off the busy Thanksgiving travel rush.
- The full blackout lasted between eight to 10 seconds, according to local news, before backup generators kicked in.
- On Twitter, the airport stated that the power was restored at around 8 p.m. local time.
- "Flights, both arrivals and departures, are operating at this time," according to a tweet from the airport. "Power has been restored to majority of the terminal but sporadic outages remain. Screening checkpoints are open. Please check with your airline for flight updates. We apologize for this inconvenience."
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The power has been restored to Oakland International Airport, after an outage left Thanksgiving travelers stranded in security lines, stuck on planes, seated in the dark, or unable to collect baggage.
According to local news station KTVU, the power went out around 6:30 p.m. local time. The airport said in a tweet that power had been restored around 8:00 p.m. local time.
However, the airport clarified to one social media user that power was not immediately restored to the entire terminal. The TSA screening checkpoint in Terminal 2 reopened at around 9:01 p.m. local time, the airport said in a tweet.
"Flights, both arrivals and departures, are operating at this time," according to a tweet from the airport. "Power has been restored to majority of the terminal but sporadic outages remain. Screening checkpoints are open. Please check with your airline for flight updates. We apologize for this inconvenience."
Anda Chu/Digital First Media/East Bay Times via Getty Images
An airport spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Business Insider that the cause for the power outage is still under investigation.
"Oakland International Airport is investigating a power disruption affecting terminal and flight operations this evening. Security screening was temporarily halted but has resumed," the spokesperson wrote. "Flight arrivals continued during the outage, however, some departures were delayed. Terminal power is nearing full restoration at this time. The Airport is working to determine the cause of the outage and will provide further updates as they become available."
Photos circulating on social media from people in the airport showed passengers sitting on the floor and long lines for security check-ins.
Some travelers tweeted that they were not able to get their bags, due to the power outage. The airport tweeted that it expected that airlines would contact passengers whose bags were left because of the power outage.
Mariam Bouricius, a passenger on a Southwest flight that was supposed to depart to Houston, told Business Insider at 8:20 p.m. local time that she had been on a Houston-bound plane for nearly two hours waiting for power to be restored.
"We have been getting updates about every 10mins from either the captain or flight attendants," she said. "They've been great about doing water service and being diligent about answering what they can."
She added that the flight was still waiting at around 8:20 p.m. local time to depart after power had been restored. A tweet from Bouricius at 9:12 p.m. indicated that she had not yet left: "Update from the captain: the jetway won't turned on so we can't move the plane.
Departures from Oakland were averaging delays of 25 minutes shortly into the power outage, while arrivals were delayed an average of 40 minutes, according to flight tracking website FlightAware. Times were expected to lengthen as delays continued to build. As of 9:30 p.m. local time "arrival delays for airborne aircraft an average of 38 minutes,
departure delays an average of 1 hours 40 minutes," according to FlightAware.
Nearly 32 million Americans are expected to travel by air during the 12-day period surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday, from November 22 to December 3, 2019, according to industry trade group Airlines for America (A4A). 2.82 million were forecasted to fly on Tuesday, making it the third-busiest day before the holiday on Thursday.