Was there an evacuation at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport during the crippling power outage?

It's a question because Mayor Kasim Reed told us that he and other decision-makers made the conscious choice, Sunday, not to evacuate the airport. But try to tell that to some of the passengers.

As night fell Sunday in the darkened and powerless airport, a woman wearing a Delta Air Lines uniform told passengers that they were "asking that you evacuate the airport."

More News

Next Story

Not Available

Just For You

Not Available


Not Available

"They put us out of the airport - because once you get out, you can't come back in," one passenger, Lakia Shaw, said. "They put us out of the airport."

A day later, a Spirit Airlines passenger trying to get to Minneapolis said she was ordered out of the terminal on Sunday.

"There's a lot of angry people," Shaw said. "They were trying to fight them last night. Because they told us to get out. It was cold as ever outside. I sat outside for 3 hours last night. This is not cool, man."

But was there an evacuation order?

"Folks who were saying we should have immediately evacuated the airport, I completely disagree with that assessment," Mayor Kasim Reed said.

Reed said on Monday that officials pondered a mandatory evacuation on Sunday night but decided against it.

"If we had given an evacuation order last night, there was a real chance that people would have become overly alarmed," he said. "And, in the dark, more injuries would have occurred. So we made the call in concert with our airport partners that we should keep people in place and allow those who wanted to leave to get on MARTA."

Reed said that all but 2,500 people voluntarily left the airport as the blackout dragged into the night. One could parse the words here. The woman in the Delta uniform said she was "asking" people to leave the airport. Thousands of people did not leave.

We have since asked Delta to clarify who gave the evacuation order.