Hotel California: Power Outage Strands Travelers at Oakland Airport

Oakland Airport (Sonny Abesamis / Flickr / Cropped / CC)
Sonny Abesamis / Flickr / Cropped / CC

The Eagles famously sang in “Hotel California”: “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.”

Those words rang true for thousands of travelers at Oakland International Airport on Tuesday evening, as the transportation hub was hit by a power outage that stranded passengers in planes on runways and halted security lines in the midst of a busy Thanksgiving travel day.

Power outages have become a regular feature of life in Northern California in the past few months, as the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), facing bankruptcy after massive insurance losses in last year’s devastating wildfires, has adopted a precautionary practice of cutting power in windy weather, lest a fault in transmission lines cause a spark that spreads rapidly.

Windy weather kicked in across the Golden State on Monday evening and into Tuesday, in anticipation of the first major winter storms. Weather reports indicated a “bomb cyclone,” in which air pressure drops rapidly.

The Los Angeles Times reported that although the power outage, which began around 7 p.m., was largely resolved within an hour, the problems it caused lasted several more: “Passengers posted about how their planes had landed at Oakland, but they were unable to get off. Others tweeted that they had deplaned but their bags had not arrived. Even more still said their flights were delayed several hours, forcing some of them to miss their connecting flights.”

The San Francisco Chronicle reported:

Andrew Kornblatt was on his way to visit family in Texas for Thanksgiving when the power went out, he said in an interview with SFGATE. Over an hour after the outage, he said that the X-ray machines and scanners at security were back on, but TSA officials at his security line still weren’t letting people through.

“Many are talking about just leaving and not traveling,” Kornblatt said, noting that the crowd was getting antsy while they waited to hear news of their flights.

Gov. Gavin Newsom is facing unprecedented criticism for the high-tech state’s failure to guarantee reliable electricity.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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