FAA Air Traffic Control System Command Center
ATCSCC ADVZY 006 DCC 06/29/2012 MDW AIRPORT_FYI
MESSAGE: MDW AIRPORT IS CLOSED DUE TO ALL AIRPORT LIGHTING OUT OF SERVICE. BACKUP POWER ALSO FAILED. UPDATE AT 0400Z.
MDW tower is currently the #2 busiest feed (normally not even in the top 50). Sounded a lot like the monkey and the proverbial football, although starting to calm-down now with lotsa “we need an escort back to the gate and are going to cancel for the night”:
Programs: UA 1K 2MM, IC Plat Ambassador, Accor Plat
I have relatives at MDW who were on the tarmac for 2 hours waiting for a resolution before taxiing back to the gate. I suspect it's chaos - and all the flights to Baltimore tomorrow are showing sold out.
I wonder how many diversions went to other stations…
Pretty much all of them after the outage took place.
The evening started with a scattered line of weather that started up around ORD (staying off MDW) but then they moved SE and impacted MDW. It didn't last long at the airport proper, but once past MDW to the SE, the cells blossomed into a broken line that had cells topping 64,000 feet at one point. This weather blocked the normal arrival routes from the E and SE, as well as departures.
The strangely ironic thing is that the power at MDW didn't fail as the storms rolled over MDW, but well after they were off to the SE. Originally, it failed, came back after a few minutes, was intermittent for a few minutes (not a good thing), and then failed completely (even a worse thing.) I didn't have any flights in/or out, but the dispatcher next to me had several, and diverted them to various alternates.
I see this morning from the FAA's ATCSCC page that MDW didn't get things working again about 0600Z (1am central time). Not a pretty night for anyone concerned.
Can't they divert flights into ORD even though they don't have gates there if there is a power outage at MDW? When the midwest had the huge power grid outage and DTW was closed, I know WN diverted at least one flight into TOL and provided shuttle service to DTW and didn't have any gates at TOL.
A friend was booked MDW-PDX last night scheduled for a 7:35 pm departure. They didn't cancel the flight until about 11 pm. The lines at the counters, she said, were impossible. I called WN to see if I could get her out today. There was space when I called - got put on hold for 30 minutes. By the time they answered, everything today was booked. She won't get out until Saturday morning. They refused to protect her on any other airline. And of course, would not pay for hotel, since it wasn't their fault.
She is back at the airport this morning trying to recover her checked bag. She said it is a total zoo.
Just before noon Friday, 20 miles S of MDW, the sky is black and rain has started again.
Both ORD and MDW have thunderstorms right now, but everything is forecasted to be out of the area by 2 pm. The whole area is underneath a stalled front that runs KC-MDW-NYC, so more storms are likely to form later on, but mainly east of MDW.
Worst experience ever with SWA -- Lights out was not their fault -- OK. Told people they would have luggage off planes in 2 - 4 hours --- I waited from 11:30 PM till 4:30 AM and then was told there would be no more luggage pulled -- hundreds of people waiting for luggage and they probably pulled 50 bags!!!! Total lack of communications.
Long story short -- my bag went to San Diego -- I am not going to SD because it was for a business meeting on Friday and they could not get me there till Saturday (in fairness they were very good in refunding my ticket price). They say they will send it back to Chicago-- we will see. They also say I have to go to Midway to get the bag (basically 2 hours each way).
We love to fly and it shows?? It didn't at the baggage area at Midway in the wee hours of the morning!!!