Pandemonium: Atlanta Airport Power Outage Grounds Flights, Traps Travelers; Evacuation Underway

Update: Delta has canceled all remaining Sunday flights ”to allow the operation to best reset for Monday,” it said in a statement on its website. The company now anticipates a near-full schedule Monday in Atlanta ”pending full resumption of power”; adding that some delays and cancellations can be expected. Delta noted that it has canceled approx. 900 mainline and Delta Connection flights Sunday as a result of the outage. Full Delta statement below:

The Atlanta airport lost power Sunday across concourses and terminals affecting all airlines. As a result of the ongoing outage, Delta will cancel its remaining Sunday domestic schedule to allow the operation to reset for Monday. The airline has canceled approximately 900 mainline and Delta Connection flights Sunday as a result of the outage and 48 flights have diverted to alternate airports due to a nationwide groundstop for Atlanta-bound flights.

 

Pending full resumption of power, Delta anticipates a near-full schedule Monday in Atlanta, though some delays and cancellations can be expected.

 

Delta continues to deplane the remaining customers from aircraft that have not been able to park at terminal gates that require power to operate. The airline will also work to reunify customers with their luggage once power is restored.

 

The Atlanta Airport, along with Atlanta Police Department, are restricting the vehicles allowed to the terminal drop-off and pick-up area due to congestion. Delta customers are encouraged to check the status of their flight via the Fly Delta mobile app or delta.com before heading to the airport. A travel waiver has been issued for Delta customers flying to, from or through Atlanta allowing customers to make one-time changes to their travel plans. Details are available at delta.com.

Delta has temporarily embargoed unaccompanied minors from traveling Monday due to the power outage. Unaccompanied minors who already began their travel Sunday may continue.  

Earlier:

A total power outage at the nation's busiest airport traced to “a fire which caused extensive damage in a Georgia Power underground electrical facility” has grounded flights and trapped people inside terminals on Sunday.

Justin L / Instagram

Stranded holiday travelers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport found themselves facing a travel nightmare as authorities prepared to evacuate dark terminals. Smoke was reported filling the airport's Concourse D terminal, while passengers were forced to sit on the tarmac for hours.

No less than 928 flights have been canceled so far, according to FlightAware.com

Georgia Power has issued a statement on the cause "which may have involved a fire which caused extensive damage in a Georgia Power underground electrical facility" and expects to have power restored by midnight.

One woman tweeted "Literal pandemonium at the @ATLairport with power completely out and electric exit doors unable to open. Baggage claim stuck, passengers can go no where!" 

Passengers found themselves plunged into darkness as they struggled to make their way out: 

Power out completely #atlantaairport

A post shared by Diana (@dcanelo) on Dec 17, 2017 at 10:51am PST

US Customs and Border Protection tweeted that it has enacted its diversion plan - meaning all inbound international flights are diverted to other airports: