Buffalo travelers return home after being stranded at Atlanta airport

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The nation’s busiest airport is still trying to recover from a power outage that shut down operations. An underground fire left travelers in the dark and canceled thousands of flights.

It’s what travelers are calling a nightmare of a situation, and a perfect storm of chaos.

Mondays and the holiday breaks are the busiest times for Hartsfield-Jackson International, and this just made it worse.

We caught up with Buffalo natives as they finally made their way home.

Trisha and Darryl Evert, and their daughter Ella were among those stuck for hours at the Atlanta airport.

Trisha Evert said, “We left Dallas at 10am yesterday and arrived in Atlanta, and did not de-board until 8pm.”

They were on their way to Buffalo to celebrate the holidays when the airport shut down.

Despite the chaos, the Everts say people were polite and calm, often using flashlights on their phones to get around.

Evert said, “We walked the entire Atlanta airport in the dark.”

With no announcement system working, and few uniformed airline employees available, they said they did not know what to do. “You had no idea where to go, they just said get out. Well, where is out?”

We spoke with Catherine Williams who was en route to Buffalo. She told us about  the scary moments when the lights went out.

She said, “The lights kept flickering, and I was in the bathroom and the lights went off and there were these flashing lights telling us it was an emergency.”

She was stranded for 7 hours at her terminal, as she saw travelers stuck in elevators and inside connecting terminal trams.


Utility workers restored power to all terminals at the airport around midnight. The utility provider for the airport, said the fire damaged an underground electrical facility and cut power to a substation there.

Overall, the incident affected one thousand one hundred and fifty departing or arriving flights.

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