SAN JOSE, Calif. - More than 250 Christmas day flights were canceled or delayed across all Bay Area airports.
By 8:30pm Sunday, 100 flights were canceled at San Jose International Airport, 90 were canceled at SFO, and 82 were canceled at Oakland International Airport.
Part of the problem had to do with severe winter weather in other parts of the country making it difficult for airplanes to return to the West Coast. Travelers said Southern California airports were too full of flights that had come back late, and their flights were canceled as a result. Southwest Airlines, dealing with staffing shortages, had the most flight cancelations of any U.S. airline Sunday, according to CNET.
"We're just stuck," Miles Hooper, 7, whose family was unable to make it from San Jose to their cousins in San Diego due to a canceled flight said.
"It went from 3pm to 3:10pm, finally 5 o clock, then boom, canceled," Laurie Matzkin, whose Redwood City family was unable to celebrate the eighth night of Hanukkah with loved ones in Southern California said.
At San Jose International Airport, some travelers didn't find out their flight was until hours after they'd already boarded.
"They canceled our flight after we sat on it for five hours," Lindsay Peelman, also trying to fly to meet relatives in San Diego, said.
Others were left stranded between connections.
"This is not how I wanted to spend my Christmas," Rachel Williams, whose connection to Chicago was canceled. She spent all of Christmas Eve trying to get a flight out of her home airport in San Diego to get to San Jose.
"I will probably get a hotel because I cannot spend another night sitting in an airport. I've basically gone 30 hours without sleep, and all I ate yesterday was the bags of snack food they passed out to the line that was waiting," Williams said. "I'm done."
Families waited more than an hour for their checked luggage to come off their canceled flights and then stood in line for three more hours to try to rebook, since airline apps and online booking weren't cooperating. Some travelers tried to get a rental car to get to their final destination but were told none were available.
Missing out on family Christmas celebrations brought many travelers to tears Sunday. Some will have virtual family reunions instead.
"We'll probably FaceTime," Shree Guve, who, along with her husband, was unable to fly to meet her relatives in Minneapolis for Christmas, said. "We don't have any other option."