Uh-oh! I feel for passengers departing from San Diego International Airport (SAN) for the next several days as it appears there was a leak in one of the fuel lines so the airport has to truck fuel in. The problem for flights traveling long distances is they will most likely have to make a fuel stop in either Los Angeles (LAX), Las Vegas (LAS) or Phoenix (PHX). RELATED: 12 Things in Travel You Need to Know Today

It looks like the problem started a couple of weeks ago. On December 26, FOX San Diego wrote: “A pipeline sending gasoline to San Diego customers has been shut down for nearly a week, fueling concern of a potential shortage in the region. San Diego may already be dealing with the consequences of a recent pipeline leak in Cerritos at the Ironwood Nine Golf Course.”

This looks like a similar situation to what happened on December 11 in Orlando. Here’s that story.

But the problem for SAN really escalated today. @xjonNYC tweeted a couple of screenshots this morning including an internal airport memo that shows the problem and indicates that it will last until January 5th. Here’s what it says, along with the screenshots below.

Effective Jan 2, 01:00 MST
Expires Jan 5, 05:00 MST
Duration 3d04h

Jon followed up that tweet saying something you’re probably thinking: “so, I don’t fully understand that image above either, except the other one makes clear; shortage of fuel at SAN).”

Twitter user @av8steve replied to Jon with a great explanation why: “No pipeline fuel into SAN until 1/4 (trucks only). For reference a tanker truck holds a bit over 50,000lbs of fuel. Fuel burn on an A321 from SAN to the East Coast is 25-30000lbs. Trucks only can’t meet the demand.”

Jon also tweeted a United Airlines message to one of their customers flying San Diego to Newark stating: “UA 2333: As a reminder, your flight will be making an additional stop for fuel due to an airport-wide fuel shortage at San Diego Int’l Airport. We’re anticipating a 12:13pm departure time from Gate 44. We know this wasn’t a part of your original travel plans and appreciate your understanding.”

According to Google (screenshot below), the flight did indeed make a fuel stop at LAX.

Same thing for Alaska Airlines’ flight this morning for their SAN to OGG (Maui) flight. Screenshot below.

Searching Twitter, I found a number of unhappy travelers, including John Roberts from FOX News:

@johnrobertsFox: Well, this is a first in my half-century of air travel…..our @united nonstop from San Diego to Washington has to stop at LAX to take on fuel, because there is a fuel shortage at SAN…

@TrueBlueBYU1984: They had a jet fuel leak in the fuel line from LA to San Diego…ALL FLIGHTS have to stop for a pit stop to fuel up…our nonstop flight just turned into a “quick stop” in Vegas to fuel up ? They have flights from SAN to SFO that have to stop in ONT (80 miles north) ?

@TrueBlueBYU1984:  I’m at the Vegas airport rn…had to stop for fuel…had a fuel line leak in San Diego and ALL FLIGHTS had to stop to refuel at the next large airport ?

@tim_ramer:  well Tony, hope you had a great New Year! Closest I’ve been to the AZ is today for a fuel stop between SAN and YYZ. Recognize the airport?

@scottiebateman: There is a paucity of fuel at San Diego. It’s impacting every carrier…especially the few wide bodies.

@tanyaquiltsinco: My friend is flying out of San Diego–there is a broken pipeline and they had to fly to get fuel in LA before flying  back to Hawaii. This all seems ridiculous!

Bottom line: If you’re flying from San Diego over the next few days, you’ll most likely be making a fuel stop, though you won’t be getting off the plane. The stop is going to add some time (between 40 minutes and 3 hours) to your journey, so plan your travel accordingly.


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