Power restored to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport after outage impacted American, Southwest flights

A power outage that impacted two of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport's terminals, as well as American Airlines and Southwest Airlines flights, has been resolved, according to TSA officials.

Officials said the outage started just after 8 a.m. Terminal 3 was quickly restored to full operations, but power remained out in portions of Terminal 4 for hours.

According to APS, a crew was doing scheduled maintenance work when an electrical equipment failure occurred.

APS officials said one worker was hurt and taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. They have since been released from the hospital.

"In preparation for the upcoming busy travel season, APS [Arizona Public Service] crews were onsite at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport performing scheduled maintenance. During the course of this work, a piece of electrical equipment failed causing a power outage at both terminals and injuring one of our crew members. The employee was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The health and wellbeing of our crew is of the utmost importance to us, and we will continue to monitor the employee’s condition. Power was restored at Terminal 3, and we continue to work safely and quickly to restore Terminal 4. Outage restoration updates can be found on our online outage map at aps.com/outagemap," stated APS' Yessica Del Rincon.

Terminal 4 had significant impacts before electricity was fully restored at around 1:45 p.m.

"The power outage affected ticket counters. Some of the jet bridges, where people board the aircraft and get off the planes. It affected our baggage handling systems. Just affected our restaurants and various operations around Terminal 4," said Sky Harbor Airport spokesperson Julie Rodriguez.

Power outage caused many flight cancellations, delays

Airport spokesman Eric Everts said Sky Harbor had more than 200 delays, over 90 flight cancellations and more than 15 inbound flights diverted to other airports during the power outage with American and Southwest airlines the most severely impacted.

Travelers were urged to check their flight status before arriving at the airport.

In the midst of the chaos, lines formed inside the airport, as people tried to figure out when or if they can fly out. Some travellers were frustrated by all the frustration.

"I missed mine at 11, and I continue to wait in a line that doesn't move," said Ryan Scholten. "They said don't stay in this line, we can't rebook you. so just go home. Then this lady who was pulling people from the line said to wait in the line, and now O've been in the line for quite some time."

"What did American say? Nothing. I haven't heard anything yet. Just wait and see, I guess," said Roxann Gafford.

Some travelers are left stranded in Phoenix.

"It is a lot to figure out where we are going to stay. We don't have a rental car. We returned it," said Lauren Stevens.

Besides stranded travellers, the outage left the terminal dark, and bathrooms out of order.

"People were really upset," said Stevens. "A lot of people were yelling, taking off their masks, upset. We went to multiple lines, called the airline, couldn’t get through. Called several times, finally got through."

For some travellers, the issue now is it is taking them at least another day to get to their destination.

"I get to use a vacation day for not a very fun vacation day," said one traveler.

You can check your flight status by visiting https://www.skyharbor.com/Results/FlightSearch.

How's the situation a day later?

The lights are back on and there's a normal wait time at Sky Harbor’s Terminal 4, which is a much different picture than travelers saw on Monday.

"Our flight was canceled," Anna Baker said. "We immediately panicked 'cause we were supposed to be back by 5 p.m. for dinner last night with our kids."

Although wait times are back to normal, it doesn't mean people aren't dealing with the fallout from Monday's power outage.

She and her husband had to pay for another night in a hotel because Southwest Airlines said it was an error on Sky Harbor's end.

"Now we are on a flight to Kansas City. We were supposed to do a nonstop and now we are taking a flight to North Carolina, stopping in Nashville, then stopping in Kansas City. So, we won’t be home until midnight tonight," she said.

Many other travelers were forced to stay another night in Phoenix too, but luckily for some, they had somewhere to stay.

"My parents are here so I was lucky," a traveler said. "My family picked me back up and I got to stay in the sunshine another day."

By Tuesday night, all was quiet in the airport as travelers headed out.

In all, a Sky Harbor spokesperson says there were more than 200 delays and over 90 flight cancellations. Some flights were diverted to other airports, too.

The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report.

sky harbor power outage

A power outage was reported at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on Nov. 8. (Danielle Miller)

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