Five hours after Laura Gonzalez of Santa Rosa should have landed at San Francisco International Airport Sunday, she was instead waiting at baggage claim in San Diego.
The Santa Rosa School Board member's flight from Atlanta was among dozens that were delayed, re-routed or canceled a day after the devastating crash-landing of a South Korean plane reduced capacity at Northern California's busiest airport.
"I said, 'Just get me to the West Coast,'" Gonzalez said she asked an airline agent.
Delta Airlines got Gonzalez as far as San Diego, and she paid $250 for a ticket to Sacramento after arranging for her daughter to make the two-hour trek to pick her up.
"I'm tired and I don't like to fly anyway, time to take another Xanax," said Gonzalez, referring to an anti-anxiety medication, before she boarded in San Diego.
Air travelers passing or hoping to pass through San Francisco faced uncertain circumstances after the 11:28 a.m. Saturday crash-landing that killed two passengers, injured dozens more and temporarily shut down the airport.
Three of four runways had re-opened by Sunday afternoon, alleviating some of the backlog as passengers scrambled to make flights or alternative plans.
After arriving early and waiting through several delays with baseball games and books, part-time Guerneville resident Mark Reoutt, 48, his wife and son had finally made it onto the plane at about 4 p.m. Sunday.
But once on the tarmac, the seat-belted passengers learned the flight to Paris had been canceled.
"They canceled the flight, for some mysterious reason. Everyone was on the plane, seated, ready to go," said Reoutt, a San Mateo High School history teacher who has summered on the Russian River since he was a child.
Travelers described long lines and delays Sunday. Airlines waived fees as an incentive to urge San Francisco travelers to reschedule flights for another day.
About 25 Saturday flights were diverted to Norman Y. Mineta San Jos?International Airport, and the number of diversions dropped to about a dozen Sunday.
Diversions "may continue for a little while longer," said Vicki Day, San Jose airport spokeswoman. "Plan on it being a little bit busier than normal."
The Sonoma County Airport Express shuttle took more passengers to the Oakland International Airport than usual, said operations manager Tony Geraldi.
Geraldi said he's been fielding calls all day helping customers whose flights have been delayed, re-routed or cancelled.
"The phones have been busy," Geraldi said.
At the San Francisco airport, <NO><NO1>Suzanne Yeomans of Graton gave her 20-year-old son a warm and relieved hug. Tyler Yeomans' flight from Madrid via Paris was delayed several hours and the plane circled the airport several times before finally landing.
"I jumped up and down -- Phew! -- I am happy to have him back in my clutches," his mother said.
You can reach Staff Writer Julie Johnson at 521-5220 or email@example.com. On Twitter @jjpressdem.