Partly cloudy

Calm weather helps Sonoma travelers on busy holiday return day

Wheels up. Wheels down. Baggage in. Baggage out. Hello. Goodbye. Wheels up . . . wheels down . . .

The Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport was a bustling post-Thanskgiving travel spot on Sunday.

"Today is the busiest day of the year for us. All our flights are sold out," said Steven Beatty, station trainer for Alaska Airlines, speaking during a rare break in the action.

Five flights came in and five flights went out, from and to San Diego, Los Angeles, Seattle and Portland, with 76 passengers on each plane.

"People are happy to have seen family. It's a lot of good vibes," Beatty said.

Part of that appeared to be the relative ease of it all.

"It's just great because we didn't have to go to Oakland," said Karin Ferro of Windsor, sounding a very common refrain.

She and her husband, Brent, waved goodbye to their daughter, Kirsten, who was disappearing into the departure lounge on her way back to Southern California, where she is a San Diego State University sophomore.

Outside, Linda Hennen of Santa Rosa waited for her grandson, who was also headed back to San Diego. The bad news: She'd given him the wrong departure time. The good news: He was so close by.

"I love having it here," she said of the airport, which is set to lengthen its main runway by mid-2014, allowing for up to 21 daily flights. "I hate going to Oakland or San Francisco."

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