Recovering from that power outage at Atlanta Int’l Airport

Updated: Monday morninng, December 18

The power went back on at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International around midnight last night after a fire in an underground faclity knocked out power airport-wide around 1 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday afternoon.

On Sunday all operations at the airport ground to a halt with thousands of passenger stuck inside the terminal into darkness and on planes.

Delta alone canceled more than 1,000 fllights and hundreds of other had to be diverted or held on the ground at their departure cities. At least 300 Delta flights are already canceled for today.


Getting everything back in order and everyone to their intended destination will be a mess as we head into a busy holiday travel week.

Delta Air Lines, American AirlinesJetBlue,  Southwest and United Airlines are among the airlines posting alerts about refunds and change fee waivers as a result of this event.

As always, check with you airline before heading to the airport for a flight that may be affected by this incident.


Storm Nemo on the way; airlines waive change fees


Updated: February 7, 2013

Another winter storm – named Nemo – is on the way and airlines are getting ready for it by issuing weather-related fee waivers and encouraging travelers to change their flight dates, postpone travel or re-route their trips to and from a long list of cities in the northeast.

Here’s are links to most of the airline waiver policies:

Air Tran

Air Canada

American Airlines

Delta Air Lines

Hawaiian Airlines


Porter Airlines

Southwest Airlines

United Airlines

US Airways


Volcano closes airports; but doors are open in Denver

If I could fly somewhere this weekend, I’d choose Iceland for the chance to see for myself what that volcano is doing. But since the ash has caused the worst disruption in air travel since 9/11, that’s not going to happen.

Photo courtesy Craig Murphy, via Flickr

OK, so Iceland, and pretty much everyplace else in Europe, is out.

But if I could fly anywhere in the United States this weekend, I’d choose Denver.

There’s no volcano erupting there, but this weekend the city is hosting Doors Open Denver – a free event that offers a look inside dozens of buildings around town that are usually closed to the public.  My column on this week, Welcome! The Door is open, includes a run-down of half a dozen cities that host this sort of event, but here’s a preview, along with some photos that didn’t make it into the posted story.

(Photo by Gregory Thow)

Billed as a celebration of the city’s built environment and design, the 6th annual Doors Open Denver takes place April 17-18 and includes 80 to 90 buildings around town that are usually off-limits to the public. This year’s theme is adaptive re-use so you’ll get to see many old buildings being used in creative new ways.

This year, participating sites include the city’s old main post office, which has been turned into a high-security federal courthouse; a restored mansion that serves as the Colorado Governor’s Residence; a theater in a former mortuary; a Yellow Cab garage that now houses businesses and residential units; and the Historic Sugar Building, which was built in 1906 as the headquarters for the Great Western Sugar Company and now houses office and retail space, and two original Otis cage elevators.

One sure-to-be-popular site is the Daniels & Fisher Tower, which was once the tallest building in Denver. The Italian Renaissance Tower has a restored lobby with marble floors and walls and a 17th floor boasting a giant clock-face and a balcony that offers great 360-degree views of the city, the surrounding plains and the mountains.

(Courtesy: Gregory Thow)

More doors opened
If you can’t make it to Denver this weekend, don’t worry. Doors at many other usually off-limits locations will soon be opening in cities throughout North America, including Toronto, New York, Chicago, and in Lowell, Mass.

May 13-15 are the dates for the 9th annual Doors Open Lowell event, which will feature everything from reclaimed and restored mill buildings to a 1920’s classical revival Masonic Temple with curious chambers and meeting rooms, and the subterranean space that once housed giant turbines for a power plant that ran a local mill.

During Doors Open Toronto, held on May 29-30, 150 buildings of architectural, historic, cultural and/or social significance will be open to the public. Highlights include: Toronto’s City Hall, which offers self-guided tours of the Rotunda, the Council Chambers and the Observation Deck, and the five-story red brick Toronto Flatiron Building, which pre-dates New York City’s famous Flatiron building by about ten years. Also open to the public will be the Canada Life building, which has a weather beacon and a 17th floor tower room offering a panoramic view of downtown Toronto and Lake Ontario, as well as the restored circa-1920 Canon Theater — once the largest and most elegant vaudeville and motion picture palace in Canada.

Mark your calendars: New York hosts Open House New York on Oct. 9-10, with more than 200 sites participating throughout all five city boroughs, including the Woolworth Building, Radio City Music Hall and the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel, which is accessed not by a door, but by a manhole.

(Courtesy Jeffrey Donenfeld)

Guide to airline ‘swine flu’ refunds

question-markIf you’re still trying to figure out whether or not you’re going to take that scheduled trip to Mexico, one of the variables is certainly the policy set forth by your airline.  Will they refund your ticket price? Waive the change fee? Allow you to go Montreal instead of Mexico City?question-markDuring the initial flu-frenzy, many airlines set and then revised their policies, in most cases extending the dates during which they’d waive change fees.

For a round-up of the airline swine flu change policies as of Friday, May 1st, 2009, see this handy chart put together by the folks at

Keep in mind, though, that policies might be in flux and that many airlines have announced significant cuts in their scheduled flights to and from Mexico even since this list was put together.

So, as always, the advice is – check your airline’s Web site and/or call to get the latest information.  Then – check again.

Source: May 1, 2009


Original Travel Dates

Changes allowed during these dates

Voucher valid for alternate destination?


Aeromexico 4/24 – 12/10/09 4/24 – 5/15/09 Not Specified A US$150 fee for No Shows may apply for some Intl cities.
Air Canada 4/28 – 5/31/09 Up to 5/31/09 Not Specified Suspending all operations to Cancun, Cozumel, and Puerto Vallarta until June 1st.
Air Tran 4/29 – 5/15/09 4/29 – 5/15/09 Not Specified Call AirTran directly to change travel to/from Cancun.
Alaska 4/27 – 5/20/09 4/27 – 5/20/09 Yes Possible credit if new destination fare is lower than original ticket.
American 4/25 – 5/31/09 Not Specified Yes Non-refundable fares will be refunded via a travel voucher.
Continental 4/24 – 5/31/09 Not Specified Yes If traveling on a OnePass Reward, call Continental to rebook.
Copa 4/24 – 5/15/09 Not Specified Yes Add’l fees may apply for revised itineraries starting May 30th and beyond.
Delta 4/26 – 5/16/09 Not Specified Call Delta Canceled ticket may be used to purchase a new ticket good for travel one year from original travel date.
Frontier 4/27 – 5/16/09 4/27 – 5/16/09 Not specified Those already enroute to Mexico, your adjusted return date must occur by May 20th. Otherwise, revised travel must be completed within 30 days of original travel date.
JetBlue 4/25 – 5/15/09 5/01 – 5/15/09 Yes Revised travel dates must occur no later than May 20th.
Mexicana 4/24 – 5/06/09 Not Specified Not Specified Refund by travel voucher valid for one year from date of issue.
Northwest 4/26 – 5/16/09 Not Specified Not Specified Use “Mange My Reservations” to change your flight.
Spirit 4/24 – 5/15/09 Not Specified Yes Non-refundable fares will be refunded via travel voucher, good for one year from original ticket’s date of issue.
Sun Country 4/27 – 5/16/09 Not Specified No Starting 4/29/09, those passengers departing Cancun will undergo a breif temperature and flu symptom check.
Taca 4/24 – 5/06/09 Not Specified Yes New travel dates must occur within one year excluding Dec. 10-24, 2009 and Jan. 2-10, 2010.
United 4/26 – 5/31/09 Not Specified Not Specified Call United to make any changes to your purchased ticket.
US Airways 4/24 – 5/31/09 Not Specified Yes If changing destination, travel must originate within 14 days of original departure date. US Airways has revised its policy and now allows departure after 14 days from original departure date but does not specify when alternate travel must be completed by (most likely within one year of original departure).
USA3000 4/25 – 5/13/09 Not Specified Yes Revised travel must end by Dec. 15, 2009.
WestJet 4/28 – 6/20/09 Not Specified Will provide full refund Service to Mexico ends 5/4/09. Flights resume 6/20/09.