SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio families stranded at Hartfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport began arriving back home Monday while many others remain stranded after a massive power outage shutdown at one of the world's largest airports.
Leonard Longoria and a group of nine family members, including a 1-year old, opted to sleep on the floor of the airport.
"There was no communication. At one point, there was a fire department guy telling us to evacuate. And then an airport guy was like, 'don't evacuate,'" Longoria said in describing the chaos that followed the outage.
Longoria said finding a hotel room was nearly impossible, much less for a family so large.
They went hungry, and walked to every terminal trying to find milk for the children.
"We had a magical time at Disney World, and then Atlanta just turned that around," Longoria said. "Everyone's ready to get home. I'm ready to get my Big Red and my Bill Millers."
The 24-hour delay meant Dr. Raymond Brewer had to miss scheduled surgeries.
The retired Air Force member said the personnel who had no knowledge of the situation dispensed some bad information that made things worse.
"If it had been a terrorist event where there had been intentional harm, that place would have been worse than it was," he said. "But it was so glaringly unprofessional. I can't even begin to tell you."
Brewer acted quickly and got a hotel room in the area outside the airport. He said other people were not so lucky.
"They were literally kicking us out into the cold with no provision of where to put us," he said.
Longoria and Brewer said they will rethink flying through Atlanta in the future.
"I'll fly, still as long as my flight isn't to Atlanta, I'm not going to Atlanta," Longoria said.
But for John and Muriel Stewart returning from a visit to see family in Atlanta, the experience was a bit different.
Muriel Stewart said the power outage was a fluke that was beyond anyone's control.
"I think it was handled very well, considering," she said.
"For it to have been a complete shutdown and evacuated and less than 24 hours to be up and flying and people out. I have to agree with my wife, it was handled really well," John Stewart said.
The Stewarts' biggest hurdle was trying to get back into the airport and having to run to make their flight home.
Their luggage is still missing, like it is for many other passengers.