1.2 Million Passengers Expected To Pass Through SFO This Holiday

While many Bay Area travelers braved the busiest day at airports at the start of the Thanksgiving holiday last week, three Bay Area airports are expected to stay bustling through the end of the weekend.

The start of the holiday season kicked off with more than 130,000 passengers arriving and departing from San Francisco International Airport Friday, according to airport officials.

That day is expected to be the busiest until the holiday travel period ends, but constant, larger-than-usual crowds should be expected until Sunday, airport duty manager Joe Walsh said.

Today, 63,000 passengers are expected to arrive and about as many are expected to depart from SFO, making it one of the “heavier” travel days this week, Walsh said.

An estimated 1.2 million travelers will pass through SFO between Nov. 22 and Sunday, however those loads will be spread out, Walsh said.

Complicating travel plans is a storm in the Northeast, which may affect airports in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Boston, and others beginning today, Walsh said.

Some weather-related delays and flight cancellations would likely make it to Bay Area airports, Walsh said.

At Oakland International Airport, spokesman Scott Wintner is warning seasoned travelers to expect “a lot more occasional travelers” who are not familiar with airport procedures and who may be toting strollers, diaper bags and other items that slow them down.

“It tends to clog things up a little bit more,” Wintner said.

The airport is offering free parking to passengers departing between Thanksgiving Day and Dec. 19.

Up to three days of free parking is being offered for those traveling between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. This is the fourth year the parking program has been offered.

There are more than 7,000 parking spaces available at the airport and the promotion is worth $66.

Travelers coming and going through Mineta San Jose International Airport are expected to be accompanied by an increase in fellow passengers.

Compared to the same 12-day period between Nov. 22 and Dec. 3 last year, the airport anticipates a 5 percent increase in passenger traffic.

Airport officials said traveling at the airport may be slow-going with longer lines.

Officials advise arriving 90 minutes before domestic flights are set to depart and two hours early for international flights.

Sasha Lekach, Bay City News

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