flight cancellations

New Year, Same Flight Cancellations: Holiday Travelers Stranded at LAX

Some major airlines are citing staffing issues due to COVID-19, and in some cases the weather, as the reason for the cancellations.

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The new year is picking up where the last one left off: with more flight cancellations and delays, largely due to COVID-19 staffing issues.

At least 118 flights were canceled and at least 219 flights were delayed at the Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday, one of the busiest travel days of the holiday season.

"Well, this is my second attempt at getting back to Pennsylvania," said Ricky Veronick, one passenger left stuck in the airport by the delays.

"The flight was cancelled due to crew shortage," said Tom Peter, another stranded flyer. "They got crews out due to COVID."

Over 200 flights were canceled at LAX on New Year's Day. Hundreds of passengers were left stranded, scrambling for new flight accommodations, like Mike Castillo and his family.

"We had to get our bags, and then we ran over here because we booked a flight out and we were trying to make 8:20," Castillo explained. "But now we're booked on the 1 o'clock to Cancun direct."

Some major airlines are still citing staffing issues due to COVID-19, and in some cases the weather. It's a continuation from last week's travel nightmare, when thousands of flights were canceled Christmas weekend.

"It’s okay, we just have to be flexible," Castillo said.

The cancellations come on what's predicted to be the last peak travel day of the holiday season.

Some airlines are now offering their staff incentives, with NBC News reporting that United is prepared to pay pilots triple or more of their usual wages for picking up flights through the majority of January.

"I think the feds should fund that because they’ve got to keep people moving," Castillo said. "If the economy stops then it’s a problem."

Passengers are warned to keep a close eye on their flights, and to be patient as an estimated 200,000 people make their way through LAX on Sunday.

"I’m excited to get home," Veronick said.

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