Some Bay Area flights to East Coast cancelled

Passengers at San Francisco International Airport await any information on flights headed to or from the East Coast.
August 26, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
U.S. carriers say they'll cancel at least 6,000 flights over the next three days. By Friday night, Hurricane Irene was already disrupting Bay Area flights.

At San Francisco International Airport there are many frustrated airline passengers who couldn't get through to their airlines on the phone so they came to the airport to get answers. Those who planned on leaving Friday night were being told that Monday may be the earliest they can get to some cities on the East Coast, if that's possible.

Vacationing Steven and Dominique Pardon came up from Sydney last week. They arrived in time to get shaken up by our latest East Bay quake Wednesday night.

"You people are very entertaining over here," said Steven.

Now they're stranded at SFO. Their 11 p.m. flight to New York was canceled.

"They said through a computer voice that it was canceled so then we went online and it said canceled and we couldn't get in touch with American Airlines at all. We spent an hour and a half on the phone," said Steven.

They stood in line at SFO for two and a half hours -- all because of Hurricane Irene. She is responsible for more than 6,000 flight cancellations nationwide so far. East Coast airports from Washington to Boston are all experiencing serious delays. Irene is stranding hundreds of thousands of travelers.

"It'll be very, very difficult if not impossible to get to the northeast in the next few days," said SFO spokesman Michael McCarron.

Anyone planning to try to get a seat on any airlines this weekend will have a tough time says McCarron.

"This is a very busy summer travel weekend just before Labor Day, another week away and there are not a lot of extra seats on the planes right now, so they're trying to rebook three or four days worth of flights and they won't have a lot of extra seats available to rebook people," said McCarron.

Rebecca Schechtnan is stranded at SFO and needs to get to her New York law school by Monday.

"I'm trying to find out when is the earliest I can get out since flights are probably closed or shut down Sunday. So hoping maybe Monday or Tuesday get a flight out," said Schechtnan.

And the Pardon from Australia had hope at the end of the night that they may get to New York after all.

"We may be able to get a flight to New York on Monday morning via Dallas, if it doesn't get canceled," said Steven.

All five New York airports will be closed to arriving flights on Saturday at noon. Two Jet Blue flights to JFK from the Bay Area managed to leave Friday night, one from Oakland and one from San Jose.


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