It's a tough September for travelers using San Francisco International Airport (SFO). The hub temporarily closed two of its runways on Sept. 7. The runway shutdown is due to a 20-day repair project that is extremely necessary for busy Runway 28L. The shutdown has left SFO with just two functioning runways. Travelers have been forced to deal with huge spikes in delays and cancellations since Sept. 7.
The runway project that's being completed at SFO is especially difficult due to the fact that the airport only has four runways in total. SFO's runways are split evenly for departures and arrivals under normal circumstances. The airport's maximum allowance for flights has effectively been cut in half this month.
Another factor that could potentially make SFO's runway project even more complicated is weather. SFO routinely experiences delays due to fog that rolls in from the Pacific. There is a chance that some foul weather could create even bigger problems before work is finished on Sept. 27. However, it is important to note that September was specifically chosen as a construction month due to the fact that the Bay Area generally experiences nice weather during this time of the year.
Customers of United Airlines have been struggling to get in or out of San Francisco this month. United operates hundreds of daily flights at SFO. Customers of Alaska Airlines are also feeling the struggle. Major airlines were reluctant to make any promises to customers regarding waivers before work officially began on Runway 28L. However, pressure from worsening delays has caused the nation's three legacy carriers to finally give in. American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines have all agreed to waive change fees for passengers traveling in or out of SFO until Sept. 27.
Alaska Airlines hasn't joined the waiver trend. However, the carrier has placed an advisory on its website. Many angry customers have been using social media to voice frustration over the fact that they were not told about September construction at SFO when they booked their airline tickets.