SFO runway construction causes delays, cancellations

Construction start at San Francisco International Airport's busiest runway on Saturday delayed 238 flights, forced cancellation of 97 others and caused hose lines with restless travelers.

Construction of the runway 28L, which serves 68% of the airport's flights, began Saturday morning and is expected to close the runway for 20 days for $ 17.2 million in repairs, airport officials said.

Chris Morgan, an airport manager, said SFO typically sees around 1,200 flights on slow days and up to 1,500 flights. on busier days. United Airlines, the airport's largest operator, was hit hardest, with 66 delays. SkyWest Airlines, which operates under United, made up the bulk of those delays, Morgan said.

The delays averaged two hours, in line with expectations. Delays could worsen Sunday because more flights are planned, officials said.

For some travelers, problems caused by the repairs were a temporary annoyance, but for Dr. William Munn (54), his delayed flight meant a funeral. [1[ads1]9659003] Mouth limped next to Delta Airlines ticket writing Saturday morning after learning that his plane was delayed by an hour, which meant he would miss a connecting flight from Atlanta back to his home in Richmond, Va. Wyndi Munn was on her cellphone with the airline trying to get help.

“We have had a death in the family, and we are trying to get back home. It's not really a great situation, ”Munn said. "The Delta representative that my wife is talking to seems to be trying to help, but that is not something that can be done. We are stuck." where people tried to change planes or change airlines altogether. Travelers settled in leather seats by the windows, called on their cell phones to plan and kicked their feet up.

Saturdays are usually low travel days, Morgan said, with an estimated 60 The number of passengers expected to leave the airport is likely to swell as this week progresses, with the heaviest traffic on Thursdays and Fridays.

Dina Hunter, 58, from South Carolina drove to the airport with her husband in her rental car when they received a warning from Delta that their 1pm flight was now departing at 2:05 pm.

"An hour is not a big deal, but it is a question of whether it is really accurate," Hunter said as she flipped through m a magazine. "It's unclear whether this is a delayed flight or a flight canceled and then rebooked."

Sisters Shira and Ravit Harari of Israel, whose JetBlue flight to Long Beach was also delayed for an hour, said airline reps not why it was changed.

The two curled up on chairs in front of the JetBlue ticket counter, saying they hoped they would not miss their connecting flight to New York.

"They just said it was late and, & # 39; We regret it is late," said Shira Harari.

Chronicle staff writer Roland Li contributed to this report.

Lauren Hernández is a San Francisco Chronicle writer. Email: Twitter: @LaurenPorFavor

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