Many holiday travelers are stranded at LAX, not knowing when or how they’ll get home after Southwest Airlines has canceled hundreds of flights.
All departing flights from Los Angeles International Airport and the Southern California region are unavailable through Dec. 31, following days of widespread cancellations for the budget carrier at airports nationwide.
As of this morning, 99 departing flights from LAX are canceled, according to the tracking website FlightAware.com, while John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana is seeing 93 cancellations.
Stranded travelers are miserable, and Southwest announced that no flights would be departing LAX through Dec. 31
Nationwide, the airliner canceled more than 2,900 flights or about 70% of its scheduled total.
Aaron Davis, who was supposed to get on a Southwest flight to Hawaii, says honeymoon plans are ruined because of the holiday travel “mess.”
“Our flight was canceled the day before Christmas. We’ve been in limbo for three days. That was after waiting in line to be told we’ll be in limbo. We waited in line for six hours. That was crazy.”
Cecille Scott, who was looking to return home to Arizona after spending Christmas with her grandchildren in Southern California, has been stuck at LAX for more than 16 hours.
“[Southwest] told everyone that everything was canceled out. When we looked at the board, everything was red, and no one was going anywhere. They also told us nothing was available until Dec. 31. We just went into panic mode,” explains Scott, who says she’s now scraped up enough money to buy bus tickets home after asking for help from friends and family.
Tyauana Robertson, who is traveling with a 3-year-old, says she wasn’t notified her flight was canceled until she got to the airport last night.
“I’m stressed. I’m not sure what I’m going to do. They’re saying there’s no flights until the 31st,” Robertson says. “I could have stayed an extended my night where I was. Now we all have to find hotels around here, and there are none.”
Rio Moore is another traveler who is feeling stressed after finding out she’ll be stuck in LA for the time being. She says she hasn’t been able to get much help from Southwest.
“No one in customer service is answering. No one in the chat service is answering. They don’t let you change it in the app, so you have no choice but to stand in the airport.”
Southwest said in an interview that the company is looking to reimburse some of the additional travel costs for its stranded customers, including hotels, rental cars, and tickets on other airlines. The reimbursement process for additional expenses will be announced at a later time.