A Progress Energy crew was working on breakers at the airport when one blew at about 10:30 a.m., knocking out power to both terminals, officials said. Power was restored shortly before noon.
Backup generators powered up during the outage to keep security checkpoints operational and provide enough lighting inside for safety, RDU spokeswoman Mindy Hamlin said.
"I didn't know if their was a security issue or something like that," said Kathy Bassil, a parent of a passenger. "We actually saw the dogs, too, with a couple of RDU personnel. So, in this day and age, you never know what's going on."
Ticketing computers were knocked offline, and most lights and air conditioning inside the terminals were affected by the outage, Hamlin said.
Airline ticket agents tried to arrange passengers into groups according to their flights and filled out needed paperwork by hand.
"Do I have anyone else for 12:05 Atlanta?" a Delta Airlines agent called out to the crowd of passengers. "Boston, I need you on this side for me, please."
A backup generator continued to power the RDU tower, so air-traffic control wasn't affected and no flights were canceled or diverted, Hamlin said.
Still, some outbound flights were delayed while waiting for passengers, she said, and inbound flights had to sit on the tarmac because the bridges used to get passengers off planes and into the terminals were inoperable.
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