Power Outage at Oakland Airport Strands Passengers Night Before Peak Thanksgiving Travel

On the eve of one of the busiest travel days of the year, a power outage at Oakland International Airport in California temporarily grounded travel, stranding some passengers on the runway and causing delays and cancellations, according to reports.

The outage first occurred around 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday with generators coming on to help mitigate the problem, NBC Bay Area reported. And while power had started coming back on, TSA's security screening was not immediately put back online, compounding the delays for passengers.

"Oakland International Airport is investigating a power disruption affecting terminal and flight operations this evening,” the airport said in a statement to NBC on Tuesday night. “Flight arrivals continued during the outage, however, some departures were delayed.”

The airport added on Twitter: “We apologize for this inconvenience.”

Passengers waited on planes that had landed, but weren’t able to deplane while others had gotten off but couldn’t collect their bags, according to the Los Angeles Times reported. It took until after 8 p.m. for power to be restored to most of the airport and for arrivals and departures to start operating again. 

“Security lines are extended out the door, luggage turnstiles not working. It’s a complete mess,” a traveler tweeted from the airport along with a video showing a very busy terminal as it appeared power was starting to be restored. “Happy Thanksgiving all.”

Another social media user posted photos of darkened terminal hallways and crowds, writing that his flight was canceled, sarcastically adding, “This is fun.”

Wednesday was expected to be the busiest travel day for the airport with 47,500 passengers predicted to pass through the terminals in Oakland, according to the airport. That surge likely won’t be helped by the flight issues of the night before.

The outage comes as the busy Thanksgiving holiday travel period kicks off, which is expected to be a record-breaking one this year. Bad weather throughout the country, however, has already caused widespread delays and cancellations.

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