The crash of Flight MH17 triggered an outpouring of sympathy on social media. One person wrote "feeling heartbroken" on the Malaysia Airlines Facebook page.
At LAX, international travelers queuing up for flights said they understand crashes happen sometimes, but they expressed shock that a passenger jet could actually be shot down.
The news had a particularly big impact on passengers who just arrived from Russia.
“We couldn't imagine in the 21st century something like this could happen because people are dying,” said traveler Darea Balaueva.
Darea and Vladimir arrived Thursday afternoon from Moscow where they say everyone is talking about the war between Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists,
“University, our family, our teachers. Everyone's talking about it, yes,” Vladimir said.
That war may have claimed nearly 300 lives when Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 crashed near the Russian and Ukrainian border. U.S. officials now say it was shot down by an anti-aircraft missile.
“It’s awful. There are no words for something like that,” said Iris Hond.
Iris Hond and Patrick Leonard were leaving Thursday from LAX to Amsterdam, the departure city for Flight 17 on its way to Kuala Lumpur.
- Updates: Download the NBCLA Mobile App
“Just crazy and scary. I mean, people start shooting down passenger planes things are going to heat up, so it’s bad news,” Leonard said.
For most of the day there was no visible service counter for Malaysia Airlines which had only one departure from the Bradley Terminal.
A group traveling to Rome was shaken by the news.
“I have 24 people in my group, so we're going on this big huge tour for 18 days and its scary no matter where we're going,” said Janna Sanchez. “But then when you hear that of course it gives you an empty pit in your stomach.”