Power Restored at LAX, But Passengers Face a Morning of Frustration

The outage was caused by a power "bump" at an off-airport Los Angeles Department of Water and Power substation

Power was restored after a four-hour outage at Los Angeles International Airport, but the frustration continued for passengers in a crowded Terminal 1 who had to be re-screened early Thursday morning.

Wednesday's outage affected everything from lighting to passenger bridges, from terminals to planes, before power was restored. The outage struck about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday and was caused by a power "bump" at an off-airport Los Angeles Department of Water and Power substation, which caused a power disruption throughout the airport, according to airport officials. It caused 21 flight cancellations and at least seven diversions of flights, according to an airport official.

Power was restored within an hour to terminals 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 and the Tom Bradley International Terminal, but terminals 1, 7 and 8 remained with only emergency power until just after 10 p.m.

Travelers in Terminal 1 were re-screened early Thursday out of what LAX said was an abundance of caution. A long ling formed outside the terminal and traffic from northbound Sepulveda Boulevard backed up on the departures level.

The re-screening process was expected to take about an hour.

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power personnel were called in to restore power Wedbesday and the city Department of Transportation was summoned to reset traffic signals in the terminal area.

Power was restored to Terminal 7 around 9:40 p.m., Terminal 8 about 9:50 and Terminal 1 around 10 p.m. Power was restored to Parking Structures 1 and 7 and the LAX gateway pylons shortly thereafter, an airport official said.


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Passengers on at least some Southwest Airlines planes at Terminal 1, where the airline is located, were unable to disembark because the jet bridges were not functioning.

Around 9:30 p.m., officials said Southwest Airlines had canceled 18 flights scheduled to leave Wednesday night.

Three United flights were canceled, seven others were diverted and 15 more were delayed, officials said.

Arriving passengers raced between Terminals 6 and 7 to locate their luggage as the outages disabled baggage carousels as well.

"You're walking through. There's alarms going off. People are freaking out. It's rough," said Julie Rice, who was arriving from Salt Lake City.

Katie Bell, who was arriving from Houston said she was actually in the restroom when she noticed lights go off.

"All of the restaurants lights were out," she said. "Walked down the escalator to the baggage claim. That also wasn't working."

A traveler named Jim shared his frustrations in a cellphone video.

"No one is communicating with us," he said in a video shared with NBC4. "Everyone is standing around waiting."

Angelica Hermosillo, who was bound for Sacramento, feared missing a wedding and more.

"The wedding is at 6," she said. "8 a.m. dentist... Don't think I'm gonna make that."

No outage could steal the spirit of a victorious baseball team from Chapman University.

"Might be a power outage, but we're still National Champions. That's the truth," said Henry Zeisler, the Chapman Panthers first baseman.

"During the outage, Los Angeles Airport Police deployed traffic officers to the (Central Terminal Area) and surrounding streets to assist with traffic flow," the airport said. Officers were also assigned to the ticketing areas to help with crowd management and provide directions for passengers, as well as maintain security at Transportation Security Administration checkpoints.

An update of the incident will be provided after it is reviewed by the airport and more information is received from the LADWP, officials said.

Beverly White contributed to this report.

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