Thanksgiving Travelgeddon: Power outage at Oakland airport foils some holiday travelers' plans

A power outage at Oakland International Airport on Tuesday - two days before Thanksgiving and one of the busiest times of the year - created delays and caused a backup at the security checkpoint before generators kicked in. 

And early Wednesday morning, hundreds of pieces of luggage were stacked high in piles on the floor of the airport. Many people who had deplaned were not able to get their bags because the equipment wasn't working. The bags were waiting to be picked up and passengers must show their ID and flight number in order to get it back.

The airport lost power at 6:45 p.m., prompting airport officials to forbid anyone from boarding because the airport was dark, according to airport spokesperson Keonnis Taylor, who added that flight arrivals were not interrupted, only departures. Elevators and escalators stopped moving. TSA agents couldn't screen passengers.

The first big rainstorm of the season had already caused some power outages around the Bay Area, but what caused the outage at the airport still hasn't been revealed. Pacific Gas & Electric does power the airport, but as of Wednesday morning, had not yet confirmed if it was the utility's equipment that went dark. Much of the power was restored about 8 p.m., the airport reported, but it wasn't fully back on until 10:10 p.m.

Between those hours, the damage had already been done. 

Eddie Ponce of Daly city was stuck in line and not too happy about it. 

"I've been here since 7:20 p.m." he said. "It hasn't moved at all."

Sophia Plessier of San Francisco was able to check her bag, but then her flight got cancelled. So she had to then retrieve her bag and go back home to The City. Her flight plans were up in the air as of late Tuesday night. 

DJ Quijano of Oakland took a more chill approach.

"It is what it is," he said. "I'll wait it out. Who knows? I might just go home." 


A man waits in the Oakland airport after the power went out. Nov. 26, 2019


Chaos and frustration erupt at the Oakland airport after the power went out. Nov. 26, 2019


Passengers are told they can't board their flights at the Oakland airport after the power went out. Nov. 26, 2019


A passenger checks her phone at the Oakland airport after the power went out. Nov. 26, 2019

KTVU's Christien Kafton contributed to this report.