Strong winds cause temporary power outage at airport

Strong winds cause temporary power outage at McGhee Tyson Airport

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Many morning passengers were frustrated by the long lines. Many morning passengers were frustrated by the long lines.
The TSA had to check every bag by hand. The TSA had to check every bag by hand.

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

ALCOA (WATE) - Strong winds Monday morning caused several trees to fall on power lines in Alcoa. The outage impacted McGhee Tyson Airport, as well as many homes and a couple businesses.

Many morning passengers said they were frustrated by the long lines resulting from the power outage.

Jason Olson has to travel for business each week. He normally walks right up to the counter, but as he waited in a long line, he said, "Seriously Monday morning? This isn't cool. There was a lot of frustration. We weren't really hearing anything in the back."

As the minutes continued to tick by, Olson said, "I stood in line for about an hour and moved about 10 feet so I called in and just rebooked myself. Some people I was in line with are still in line. They aren't even at the desk yet."

Airport spokeswoman Becky Huckaby says when the power goes out, the airport has a back up system for the runway and facility lights. However, some computers and luggage scanners were down.

"They had to hand write tickets and boarding passes during the first flights this morning while the power was being brought back on," Huckaby said.

Since the power outage caused the luggage scanners not to work, the TSA had to check every bag by hand.

Huckaby says no flights were canceled, but there were delays.

Olson says some passengers had to wait a couple hours so he decided to change flights, causing him to be at his destination six hours behind schedule.

"I missed a day of work for this so I just called my client and said I won't be there today. I'll be there tomorrow," he said.

The power was back on at the airport by 7:00 a.m. All flights were back on schedule by around 8:00.

Since the computer system was disrupted, Huckaby recommends all passengers call the airlines directly to check on their flights or check the arrivals and departures on the airport website. It's controlled by the FAA control tower and was not affected by the outage.

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