Christmas Travel Week Kicks Off With Atlanta Airport Power Outage

Passengers rest behind the ticket counter after the lights went out at Hartfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta. // Photo by AP Photo/Branden Camp via Newscred

A power outage late Sunday evening has led to hundreds of cancelled flights at the busy Atlanta airport.

According to the latest statement from the airport’s official Twitter account, Georgia Power believes the outage may have been caused by a fire which caused extensive damage in an underground electrical facility, impacting underground facilities as well as substations serving the airport.

As of midnight this morning, the airport reported that power had been restored. Concessionaires and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security lines are also open.

Delta, which has a hub at Atlanta, reports that it has temporarily embargoed unaccompanied minors from traveling Monday, systemwide, due to the power outage. Unaccompanied minors who already initiated their travel Sunday and whose travel was disrupted as a result of the outage are exempt from the embargo and may continue to travel.

Delta is also offering a cancellation and change waiver for customers flying through Atlanta through December 19. The ticket must be reissued on or before December 22 with rebooked travel to begin no later than that date.

United Airlines is also waiving the change fee and any difference in fare for new flights departing on or before December 22 in the originally ticketed cabin (any fare class) and between the original city pair. Customers must have been originally scheduled to travel through December 19.

American Airlines will waive the change fee for customers scheduled to travel through December 18, with new travel to take place through December 21 between the same city pair in the same cabin (or pay the difference).

Southwest Airlines reports that it plans to continue operating its regular schedule out of Atlanta Monday, December 18. Customers scheduled to travel through Atlanta through December 18 can rebook in the original class of service or travel standby within 14 days of their original date of travel between the original city pair.

Customers who were scheduled to fly on JetBlue Sunday, December 17, can rebook through December 19. Customers with cancelled flights can also opt for a refund to the original form of payment.

Finally, Frontier Airlines reports that customers scheduled to fly through December 19 can make one itinerary change with the standard rules and restrictions regarding change fees waived. Travel must be completed be later than Monday, January 1, 2018.

According to NBC News, the outage cancelled more than 1,173 flights and delayed 207 others on Sunday. More than 400 flights remained cancelled on Monday with 42 more delayed as heavy fog in thes area continued to impede air travel, even with the power back on.

The incident is a rough start to what’s shaping up to be a busy holiday travel week. A record 107.3 million Americans are set to take a holiday trip this year, AAA forecasts, up 3.1 percent over last year and the ninth consecutive year of holiday travel growth. Of those, 6.4 million people will travel by air, a 4.1 percent increase and the fourth consecutive year of holiday air travel growth. Good to know: December 20 and 21 will be the busiest travel days this week.

Similarly, airline trade association Airlines for America (A4A) reports that 51 million passengers will fly globally, up 3.5 percent over last year.

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