Oh no, there’s fog in San Francisco!

My flight out of Seattle on Wednesday was delayed for about an hour. The explanation: Fog in San Francisco.

Whoa, fog in San Francisco. Must've taken them by surprise!

Comments (10)
  1. Neil (SM) says:

    If can you believe what you read in the papers, it’s been recently disclosed that airlines frequently lie about reasons for delays.

    For example:


    Fog in San Francisco sounds like a catch-all default excuse to me.

  2. Robertd says:

    Similar to the flight delays in Chicago because of wind.

  3. bodenste says:

    Hey Raymond,

    The reason it really matters at SFO is because when there is fog they can only use one of the two parallel runways. I believe the runways are quite close — only about 750 feet — and therefore can both only be used when visibility is sufficient. The FAA requires that runways be more than 4,300 feet apart for instrument landings using the technology that SFO has.

    It’s the primary reason why Southwest stopped flying into SFO and opted instead to go to Oakland — too hard to turn planes when the fog rolls in and capacity goes down 50%.

    There’s a lot of research going into it both from a prediction side — when will the fog lift — and radar/ILS. It’s just a hard problem, and certainly no surprise!

  4. Former Seattlite now in SF says:

    Pot, kettle, name-calling scenario?

  5. Joeseph says:


    Chicago is called the Windy City not because it suffers from disproportionate amounts of wind, but because Chicagoans were thought to be blowhards – "windy" – at some old world’s fair or another.  Another possible explanation (one that seems to be less prevalent) is that all the skyscrapers and tall buildings caused wind to be channeled down the narrow streets.

    Neither of which would be reasons to delay an aircraft at ORD or MDW which are miles outside the Loop.

    In fact, I’ve never heard "Wind in Chicago" used as an excuse for a delay before.  Weather in Chicago, certainly, but never wind per se.

  6. Dennis says:

    Actually, it was much more foggy than normal the other night.  My wife and I were commenting on how crazy it was that evening.

    What time were you flying, Raymond?

  7. Mr Cranky says:

    Sheesh.  You know, fog is a problem, regardless of whether you expect it or not.

    I’m not defending the airlines.  My experience has been they will tell you anything but the truth when it comes to delays.

  8. Igor Levicki says:

    I was in San Francisco from August 17th to 21st and on Thursday morning (21st) there was what looked like a lot of fog to me — the top halves of skyscrapers were disappearing in it. I guess it settled over the night because Wednesday was sunny and clear for the whole day. The fog eased up in the late afternoon so my flight to Munich at 9:30pm wasn’t delayed.

  9. You never know what’s going to happen.

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