SAN DIEGO — Hundreds of thousands of people are set to hit the skies to travel this holiday weekend. At the same time, thousands are experiencing delayed and canceled flights as a historic winter storm dumps across most of the U.S.
San Diego International Airport (SAN) dealt with long lines and long wait times. People said they waited hours to get their bags checked or to speak with an agent about their flight.
According to the San Diego International Airport Communications Specialist, Larisa Casillas, they are expecting 800,000 people coming and going from SAN between Dec. 22 and Jan. 3. About 60,000 passengers on average come and go each day.
Casillas noted that the busiest travel days will be Dec. 23 and 22 (in that order), also Jan. 2 and 3 are expected to be heavy. Casillas said when compared to last year, passenger traffic is up 19% but 11% down compared to 2019.
FOX 5 spoke with people who had to stay in San Diego longer than planned, and those who were able to breeze right into San Diego.
“Goodbye sunshine! Of all the places to be stranded, beautiful San Diego, highly recommend it,” said Sarah Pierson and Enrique Lopez, a couple headed back to New York.
Thousands of delayed flights and canceled flights across the U.S. and at SAN.
“The entire plane sat up at once, we all had to leave security go out to the ticket table and book from scratch,” explained Lopez, whose flight got canceled Friday evening.
Lopez and Pierson are going home a day late, but just in time for some last-minute holiday revenue at their wine shop in Brooklyn, all worth the frigid weather they’ll come home to.
“We’ve got a car parked at the airport full of winter coats, we got a little dog at home that’s going to be just happy. It’s all great, coming home is always great,” Lopez said.
“I’m going back home to see my wife in North Carolina,” said Tyree Padilla.
Tyree Padilla is going back to his wife in North Carolina, but showing up later than promised. The Marine veteran retiring out of MCAS Miramar after 30 years of service says he woke up at 3 a.m. for a 6 a.m. flight. That flight was delayed to 1:45 p.m. Padilla showed up at SAN to stand in line to talk to an agent about his connecting flights.
Coming into SAN was less turbulent for some travelers.
“I didn’t think…The lines weren’t bad at all. The flight was very smooth,” said Don and Kathy Karlin, who flew in from Atlanta to visit their children and grandchildren.
“16 degrees to 75 degrees, we’re all over it, I think we are going to go out on the sailboat on Christmas Day,” Karlin said.