On Sunday, an estimated 1,183 flights were canceled at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta following an 11-hour power outage that left tens of thousands of passengers stranded. But even after power was restored and operations resumed, holiday travel woes continued on Monday, as more than 400 additional flights were canceled. As of Tuesday morning, only six flights were canceled.
City officials confirmed that a fire “caused extensive damage in an underground electrical facility,” which also impacted “substations serving the airport.” A spokesman for Georgia Power told NBC News that the fire not only destroyed the main power line, but also the backup.
The outage began at approximately 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, and the FAA responded by putting in a ground stop for flights heading to ATL. As the hours passed and crowds, lines and traffic increased, the Atlanta Police Department sent extra officers to assist, and airport personnel handed out water and food to stranded passengers. Chik-Fil-A even broke its longstanding tradition of being closed on Sundays and called in employees to serve food. By Sunday evening, the city prepared the Georgia International Convention Center to take in any passengers who needed a place to stay.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed tweeted on Sunday night that all passengers had “been safely de-planed,” roughly nine hours after the outage began. However, some people criticized the announcement, claiming to have still been on their planes after seven hours. One passenger apparently created a Twitter account just to let Reed know he was wrong.
By 11:45 p.m. ET, “all essential airport activities” had resumed, and on Monday morning the airport’s Twitter account announced that TSA lines and concessionaires were opening. Still, as FlightAware’s Misery Map reported, 408 flights were canceled and an additional 403 were delayed.
By far the busiest airline at ATL, Delta was responsible for approximately 900 cancellations on Sunday and another 300 on Monday. In response, the airline issued an advisory and is offering a one-time change for affected travelers.
(This article has been updated to include additional delays.)