East Coast blizzard, West Coast rain causes travel mess at SFO

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Saturday, January 23, 2016
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Because of bad weather on both coasts, Friday is not the day to fly.

SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (KGO) -- Because of bad weather on both coasts, Friday is not the day to fly.

So far, 84 departing flights at San Francisco International Airport have been cancelled, many of them to the East Coast and short-haul flights on the West Coast. Oakland Airport saw three cancellations for departures and at Mineta San Jose, no cancellations have been reported.

Lines were short at the check-in counters but where it was really bad was where passengers were trying to re-book flights after theirs were cancelled. Many are having little luck due to the East Coast blizzard.

READ MORE: Best photos, videos of 2016 East Coast blizzard

Airline customer service agent had to be one of the toughest jobs in the airline business Friday, after having to deal with 100-plus long lines of stranded passengers hit by a common word on the flight status boards, cancelled.

Sisters Emma and Rachel Higgins from Santa Rosa are trying to get to New York.

"We got an email saying our flight was cancelled but then we're here, and it says delayed so we're just trying to figure out what the possibilities to get to New York are," Rachel Higgins said.

As its looks now, Emma Higgins will miss her graduate school audition for the London School of Dance.

SFO is the Pacific gateway hub for United Airlines, so many in line got off international flights Friday morning. They've been flying for 10 to 12 hours already. Joni Pagnotta is thinking about renting a car.

"I have to improvise, yeah. I'm not going to sleep in the airport overnight," Pagnotta said.

Chun Mei Ma flew in from Chengdu, China. Her flight was delayed for four hours by a mechanical problem. Now she's stuck at SFO.

"They say all the flights to Newark are cancelled, so I'm afraid I will be stuck here," Ma said.

The prospect of rebooking flights could be daunting.

"We're hearing from some of the major airlines that they've already cancelled flights to the Northeast all the way through Sunday in anticipation of continued bad weather in this region," said Doug Yakel, SFO spokesperson.

Even when the weather clears up, it may take airlines until early next week to get aircraft, pilots, and flight attendants back in place.

Click here for full coverage on the 2016 East Coast blizzard.

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