SFO flight delays, cancellations increase on 2nd day of runway construction

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Rows of delays and cancellations... SFO's arrival and departure boards are exhausting to look at, as are the passengers passed out at the airport, and seen pleading with gate agents for a faster way home.

"We got a notification for a delay, and then another notification and another notification and turns out about four hours later they said we're going to re-book you on another flight," said David Decarion, who is trying to get his family and two young children back home to Fort Worth, Texas in time for school on Monday.

Sunday was the second day of a 20-day closure of 28 left runway, a high-traffic and damaged area, that crews are now reconstructing.

RELATED: Nearly 350 flights delayed or cancelled on day 1 of SFO runway closure

In a press release, SFO said, "Flight delays are expected to average 30-45 minutes, with some flights experiencing maximum delays of approximately 2 hours."

However, passengers ABC7 spoke to on Sunday at SFO said they were dealing with delays between 3 and 7 hours.

SFO officials say that on Sunday, 298 flights were delayed and 129 were cancelled. That's about 20% higher than the delays and cancellations SFO reported on Saturday.

However, in the context of SFO's 1,300 daily flights, that still means that most flights - about 70% - are unaffected and running on time.

"The airport is built on fill in the Bay and subject to settling and all the environmental issues that you can think of," said Chris Zwingle, a retired commercial airline pilot.

Despite the continued cancellations and delays, Zwingle feels SFO's preemptive 13% reduction in flights during construction, was adequate. "I have the confidence that between the carriers and the airport they're doing the best they can to maintain the balance. Yes, it's going to inconvenience people, there's no question about that, but it has to get done."

RELATED: SFO's busiest runway closes for 20 days

Many passengers had no idea about the runway construction until the got to the airport and learned they were delayed.

"I would have liked to have known upfront there are gonna be delays expected," said Melissa Marquardt, who said she may have tried to book her business travel into a different Bay Area airport, had she known about the construction and expected delays in advance.

Other passengers say the airlines did notify them about delays in the weeks before flights.

Kate Larsen: "Did they offer to allow you to re-book your flights?

Passenger, Jim Edgar: "They gave us that, and they said there wouldn't be any penalties, but that's kind of crazy because you still gotta come in and out of San Francisco."

Until September 27th, when construction is expected to be complete, it's helpful to know that short-haul flights are the first to be delayed. And if you need to book travel between now and Sept. 27th, flights before 9 am are most likely to run as scheduled.
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