Bay Area airports working to manage surge of holiday travelers

The countdown to Christmas has begun and that means holiday travel is in full swing.

Suman Padhi is one of the thousands of holiday travelers making their way through SFO Saturday night.

Although holiday travel can often be a headache, he says there's a payoff.

"It's a little more expensive and a little more inconvenient, but you're going to places you're excited to go to see people so, it's all worth it," said Suman Padhi.

SFO reports about 86,000 passengers making their way through the airport, a big bump from a typical Saturday.

"We're doing about 26K additional passengers today than an average Saturday. So it's going to be noticibly busy," said Russell Mackey SFO Duty Manager.

More people often means more potential problems.

One ride-share driver says with the crush of the crowd, it's important to maintain your holiday spirit.

"You just have to be patient with people and know that it's going to take a little bit longer. Converse with the passengers so the time goes by a lot better and of course the hat makes all the difference, said ride-share driver Nevil Wall.

Despite larger crowds, lines flowed freely through security.

But one of the 8 tips you won't find to get through screening faster -- it's best not to bring wrapped gifts.

"Anything that you want to bring through the security checkpoints needs to be able to be opened, so maybe not do that elaborate wrapping job on your presents when you're flying out," said Mackey.

Flying in and out was not a problem this evening as three runways we're open, and skies favorable, but officials warn that could change overnight.

"We do have some storms coming in sounds like tonight, possibly after midnight and once those start to roll in then the FAA may put us on a ground delay, which reduces our arrivals and departures by about half," said Mackey.

That would mean the normal load of 60 planes per hour could potentially be cut in half.

If that happens and travel becomes a bit more turbulent on the spirit, one woman has her own travel tip. 

"Having an eye mask for the plane, you just put it on and you can pretend you are anywhere else," said Alexandra Price.

For now, operations are smooth, but if the weather turns, you could see significant delays Saturday.