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SFO Travelers Continue To Face Long Delays

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Passengers wait in line at the United Airlines ticket counter at San Francisco International Airport. (CBS)

Passengers wait in line at the United Airlines ticket counter at San Francisco International Airport. (CBS)

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SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (CBS SF) – Travelers at San Francisco International Airport continue to face flight delays and cancellations Monday, though fewer than the airport saw over the weekend following the deadly Asiana Airlines Flight 214, an airport duty manager said.

Airport Duty Manager Shannon Wilson said there is a roughly 90-minute delay on arrivals at SFO Monday morning and 17 departing flights are cancelled.

The delayed and cancelled flights are technically due to low-lying clouds, which prompted the Federal Aviation Administration to impose a ground delay program on the airport, Wilson said.

However, cancellations and delays are expected to continue into the afternoon even under sunny skies, since one of the airport’s four runways remains closed, he said.

More than 200 stranded travelers spent the night in the airport and awoke on Monday in hopes of catching a flight. That’s down from the roughly 800 people who stayed in the airport on Saturday night, airport officials said.

One United Airlines employee, who did not want give her name, said that passengers who were unable to leave on Saturday or Sunday could receive more bad news.

“People will just find out that they really can’t be re-booked because all the flights are actually full for the day, so that can’t go out until Tuesday,” she said. “Yesterday was crazy too. A lot of people were sleeping at the airport and all the security checkpoints were actually backed but they would find out that they really can’t be on the flight—it was terrible.”

There is no estimated time for the reopening of Runway 28L, which was the site of the Asiana Airlines crash Saturday that left two dead and more than 180 injured.

All SFO flights were diverted or cancelled following the crash. Two of four runways reopened later on Saturday, and a third reopened around 1 p.m. on Sunday, according to airport officials.

Wilson said airport vendors stayed open overnight to accommodate the overflow of travelers and airport workers passed out pillows and blankets to those spending the night at SFO.

Passengers affected by the flight delays and cancellations are advised to contact their airline companies for information about nearby accommodations.

“As always, we advise travelers to contact their airline for information before they come to the airport,” Wilson said.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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