Patience, preparation urged as Bay Area airports brace for July 4th travel rush

SAN FRANCISCO INT’L AIRPORT – With airports in the Bay Area and across the country expected to be crowded for the July 4th holiday, experts are urging travelers to be prepared for disruptions.

Last weekend, 2,000 flights were cancelled nationwide and the upcoming holiday is already looking doomed for travelers.

Just ask Catalina Perez and her family, who was trying to get to Miami for godson’s birthday.

“So far, I’ve gotten a notification that our flight was delayed, so basically we’re going to miss our second flight. And we’re trying to see if we can get another flight – but it doesn’t look like we can,” Perez told KPIX 5.

Experts said Catalina and her crew won’t be the only ones facing troubles.

“It’s going to be tough. We’ve had pretty poor operations from the airlines this whole summer so far, but now you’re in a holiday weekend – so you have even more people trying to travel. Delta is already seeing the writing on the wall. Other airlines know it’s going to be a real challenge,” said Brett Snyder of Cranky Concierge.

The good news, if you’re flying out of SFO, the cancellation rate is well below the average.

“So far this month, our cancellation rate is about 1.4% of total flights being canceled – that’s actually well below the national average of 3.5%. So, a slightly better story to tell, but obviously no airport is immune from delays and cancellations,” SFO spokesperson Doug Yakel told KPIX 5.

After two years of ghost towns in the terminals, San Francisco International is running at 75% of pre-pandemic levels.

Airlines haven’t been able to replace everyone they laid off early on in the pandemic, plus they are dealing with surging COVID-19 case rates now that mask rules have dropped.

Meanwhile at Chase Center on Wednesday, United Airlines was holding a job fair and pitching perks beyond the direct deposit.

“This is a career, this is not just a job. So you’re not just going to earn a paycheck, you’re gonna get benefits – health care benefits, 401k match, travel benefits,” a United rep told KPIX 5.

Experts said travelers this weekend should make sure to have their airline’s app downloaded and to be prepared to get in line and on the phone immediately if flight status changes.

Also, remember to be kind.

“Be patient. Know that the people at the airlines that you’re interacting with – they have been dealing with this for weeks. They’re exhausted. They’re doing their best. They want to help you get where you’re going – so just be nice to them. They’ll get you where you need to go eventually,” said Snyder. 

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