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Delays connecting through SFO due to fog?

Chicago, Illinois
posts: 161
reviews: 4
Delays connecting through SFO due to fog?

Has anyone had a delay arriving or departing out of SFO due to fog? Is it more likely certain times of the day, or certain times of the year? Looking at a flight late March arriving around 9:30 am and leaving at 11:30 am.

5 replies to this topic
New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 7,751
reviews: 53
1. Re: Delays connecting through SFO due to fog?

I've experienced delays there a few times but I'd put it in the same bucket as thunderstorms at DFW. You can't predict them and can go out of your way to make a really conservative schedule to accommodate for it.

I'd, personally, have no issues with a 2hr connection at SFO, even if gasp! I was on separate itineraries.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 15,929
reviews: 5
2. Re: Delays connecting through SFO due to fog?

SFO is notorious for weather delays (not just whiteout fog but also low cloud and rain), at all times of the year. I've experienced them in the middle of winter and the height of summer.

The issue is that SFO has four runways, two sets of parallel runways that cross each other. If any weather creates poor visibility, the take offs and landings have to be separated by a longer time, and this can play havoc with flight schedules.

To alleviate this, ATC implements flow control which affects mostly flights from nearby airports (about 2 hours flying time), delaying their departure or even plain canceling the flights. As I live in Portland OR, I get affected by this a lot as PDX is always put under flow control when this happens. If you're flying in from Chicago you shouldn't be directly affected by flow control, so two hours should be okay.

If you can let us know where you're journey is originating and where you're flying to that would be useful.

Chicago, Illinois
posts: 161
reviews: 4
3. Re: Delays connecting through SFO due to fog?

We depart from Chicago (ORD) and are heading to HNL. You have convinced me not to even attempt to connect through SFO as we also have LAX as an option, which is usually sunny! I have to laugh when I see Denver as a connecting city, they still have snow in the end of March, and after a whole winter of snow and cold, I certainly don't want to get stuck there!

Bangkok
Destination Expert
for Bangkok, Air Travel, Thailand
posts: 13,662
reviews: 71
4. Re: Delays connecting through SFO due to fog?

Hi,

I too would take a morning LAX connection over a morning SFO connection IF the issue was making an onward critical connection..

However, the one thing that SFO does have in it's advantage is that there is far more (UA-operated) SFO-Hawai'i services than from LAX.. While LAX isn't a single-daily city, SFO does have multiple SFO-HNL services as as well as non-stops to OGG, KOA and LIH among others..

So, depending on bookings and timings, you do have greater possible same-day re-booking options to the Hawai'ian islands via SFO than you do LAX-- but I do agree that AM weather in LAX is -- on average -- better than in SFO.

Travel Safe,

Park City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah, Travel Gadgets and Gear
posts: 10,231
reviews: 202
5. Re: Delays connecting through SFO due to fog?

If you have the choice, for sure pick LAX or even DEN over SFO. Fog is definitely a problem, especially, as noted, with the challenging runway configuration where they can't run crossing or parallel runways in some low visibility levels. Also, wouldn't knock DEN at all. Almost never have an issue there. Extremely efficient airport in bad weather because they built it with that in mind. In the worst of weather DEN can continue to run multiple runways.

Have fun.

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