SFO runway closing: Airlines are warning San Francisco airport flyers


The San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is closing one of its major runways for repairs in September, prompting airlines to warn passengers about expected delays and at least one airline to issue a travel waiver.

a train is parked on the side of a building: 7. San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

The runway will be closed starting Sept. 7 and is expected to reopen Sept. 27, so unless you have extended Labor Day plans, you should be in the clear for Labor Day travel.

United Airlines is letting customers change their flights or connect to different cities via a travel waiver as a result of the runway closure. The airline also warned passengers on its website that it has reduced flights from its schedule ahead of time and rebooked customers accordingly.

SFO said in a press release that airlines have collaborated with the airport on reducing their number of flights to limit the length of flight delays (which is expected to be about 30 to 45 minutes on average). Flights have been reduced by 13% during this period.

The airport suggests travelers book early morning flights prior to 9 a.m. PST during the closure. Wednesdays and Fridays are the days with the highest delay possibilities, given they see the most flight activity.

“We have already adjusted our flight schedule at SFO during the runway closure, and customers who are impacted have been proactively notified,” American Airlines spokesman Curtis Blessing told USA TODAY. “Per our normal schedule change process, if a change doesn’t meet a customer’s needs, they can make additional changes and/or seek a full refund without fees.”

Alaska Airlines has a warning for travelers to expect SFO delays on its website and says it has rescheduled certain flights, though it does not mention a specific travel waiver.

Southwest Airlines also has reduced frequency and retimed flights in accordance with the SFO reduced capacity. Southwest has not issued a travel waiver but does not charge change fees. 

USA TODAY has reached out to other major airlines in the U.S. to find out their plans ahead of the closure.

Related video: Frontier Airlines To Offer Flights From Newark Liberty Airport (Provided by CBS New York)


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