My trip to Philadelphia last night was not as smooth as I had hoped it would be:
San Francisco International is a great airport and I enjoy connecting through it, but when the fog and wind roll in, expect delays. Throw in some construction and those short delays that are erased once airborne turn into marathon delays that disrupt whole days. Like mine, today.
Under federal directive, SFO is updating its runways and for the next three weekends runway 28R will be closed.
The closures will allow crews to construct new threshold areas, lighting systems, and navigational aids to comply with federal Runway Safety Area (RSA) requirements. Scheduled dates remain subject to change based on weather conditions. The overall Runway Safety Area project is expected to be completed in the fall of 2015.
During the closures, the arrival rate at SFO will be reduced from 60 aircraft per hour to 30 aircraft per hour. Delays for flights originating within a two-hour radius of SFO are expected to occur during peak travel times. Peak times are between 9:00am-12:00pm and 6:00pm-9:00pm. Travelers are strongly encouraged to contact their respective carriers regarding any potential delays.
Here is the schedule for the runway closures:
- Friday, April 12th (2013) at 10:00pm PDT through Monday, April 15th at 8:00am PDT: Runway 28R closed
- Friday, April 19th at 10:00pm PDT through Monday, April 22nd at 8:00am PDT: Runway 28R closed
- Friday, April 26th at 10:00pm PDT through Monday, April 29th at 8:00am PDT: Runway 28R closed
- Friday, May 3rd at 10:00pm PDT through Monday, May 6th at 8:00am PDT: Runway 28R closed
I don’t want to turn this into another attack-United post, but united.com fails to mention this work on its notices page and looking at the departure board last night, the majority of flights were delayed.
Had I known what was going on, I would have re-routed from Los Angeles and bypassed San Francisco completely. I will certainly do that next trip and I encourage others to plan ahead as well–the captain explained that arrivals were cut in half due to construction and delays were compounded by wind shear, necessitating greater spacing between aircraft. As it turned out, a delayed Los Angeles – San Francisco flight would provide the aircraft for the San Francisco – Philadelphia flight. My flight from Burbank had arrived earlier and I did not find it classy that everyone was booted from the United Club at 11:30p despite the several delays.
Finally we pushed back and made it halfway toward the takeoff point when the captain came on and noted that we had a weight/balance issue and would have to return to the gate so that the cargo could be adjusted. “It will just take two minutes,” the captain promised. It took 20.
We arrived after 9am in Philadelphia this morning and I missed my 8:30a appointment (scheduled arrival time was 7:15a). The only upside was that the late hour helped me to quickly fall asleep and I slept through the whole flight, even with the cantankerous hospital escapee behind me (the subject of a future post).
Oh yes, and to rub salt in the wound–
Back in the air on Wednesday…I’ll be avoiding SFO, even with no work going on midweek.