Nearly 350 flights delayed or canceled on day 1 of SFO runway closure

ByLiz Kreutz via KGO logo
Sunday, September 8, 2019
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Saturday marked the first day San Francisco's International Airport's busiest runway closed for construction -- and travelers felt the impact.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Saturday marked the first day San Francisco's International Airport's busiest runway closed for construction, and travelers felt the impact.

According to an airport manager, 244 flights were delayed and 103 flights were canceled, mostly due to the maintenance project.

For 20 days, starting Saturday, the runway will be closed while a new base is being built along the 1,900-foot stretch to where it meets the intersection of another runway. The project is expected to end on Friday, September 27 and cost $16.2 million.

On Twitter Saturday, airlines were busy responding to several frustrated fliers. One person emailed ABC7 News to say their flight from LAX to SFO was delayed at least five hours.

Jenni and John Price were traveling to San Francisco from Bossier City, Lousiana. Their connecting flight to SFO from Dallas landed three hours late.

"I started getting updates through Expedia it was going to be delayed, delayed, delayed," Jenni said.

Derrick Smith, who lives in Oakland, says his flight to SFO was delayed twice.

"I was late for my job actually, working at the new Chase Center for the Warriors," he said, "I was supposed to be at work but I'm not there."

The FAA said delays at SFO on Saturday averaged 3 hours an 30 minutes. A SFO airport manager disputed that number, saying the delays averaged 90 minutes.

For people traveling through SFO the next 20 days, the best advice? Take early flights before 9 a.m. when the delays are expected to start. Also, check with your airline because some are offering to change flights for free.

Despite the frustrating day, some travelers kept an upbeat spirit.

"He was trying to leave whenever we can get out," Jenni Price said of her husband, "But I'm saying this is our vacation we're going to stay and have a good time in San Francisco no matter what."