Mad rush at Bay Area airports

At San Francisco International Airport, Thanksgiving travel started in earnest last week, but Wednesday at the airport — and on BART — was still busy, with passengers making late breakaways back home for the weekend. Those who waited until the last minute to secure their airfare took a hit to their wallets, with round-trip fares from San Francisco to locations such as Boston surpassing $600, according to the major online travel booking sites.

Some, such as Eileen Santiago, traveling late Wednesday to Washington, D.C., with her boyfriend, said they just couldn’t get the time off, but it was worth it to make it home for family and turkey with all the trimmings.

The Wednesday getaway appeared to be running smoothly, SFO duty manager Douglas Lyon said. However, there were delays expected for much of the day, and possibly into the rest of the weekend, for bad-weather areas such as Chicago, Boston and Newark, N.J., Lyon said. Delays to these regions were estimated to be anywhere between 45 minutes and an hour.

The airport did not expect delays to completely prevent people from flying to these regions, Lyon said.

“We’re keeping an eye on those regions, but we don’t expect any other major delays,” he said.

A record number relied on BART to bring them to the San Francisco and Oakland airports, destinations projected tosee an estimated 50,000 and 29,000 passengers per day, respectively, through Monday, according to BART figures.

SFO is also expected to enjoy a significant boost in passengers this holiday season, with an estimated 3.6 million expected to pass through its terminals through Jan. 6, an increase of 10 percent over the same time period last year, according to airport figures. Some of the increase can be attributed to three new low-cost carriers that added domestic service at SFO this year.

PUBLIC TRANSIT

» SamTrans will operate intercity routes KX, 390, 391, 292, 297 and 397 on Thanksgiving. Extended service is also available as late as 11:17 p.m. to Serramonte Center in Daly City starting Friday through Dec. 26.

» Caltrain will run a typical Sunday schedule featuring 28 trains between San Francisco and San Jose on Thanksgiving Day. Caltrain will operate a regular weekend schedule on Friday, the first time it has ever done so. The agency reports 96 trains will operate, approximately three times as many as a typical Sunday or holiday.

» Muni</strong> will operate on a weekday, nonschool schedule on Friday.

» BART will run normal weekday service on Friday.

Source: SamTrans, Caltrain, BART, Muni

tramroop@examiner.com  

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