Southern California

Storm Forces Flight Delays, Cancellations

Hundreds of flights were delayed or canceled Friday at Los Angeles International Airport, as driving rain and gusting winds wrought havoc on air travel across the Southland, with dozens of flights also impacted in Burbank and Orange County.

According to LAX officials, 333 flights were either delayed or canceled at the airport by late afternoon -- out of 1,413 total flights scheduled for Friday. The airport reported delays of 186 arriving flights and cancellations of 34 others. Among departing flights, 84 were delayed and 29 were canceled. Flights were averaging delays of about two hours.

Some flights involving LAX were delayed because airplanes were arriving from the west -- over the ocean -- and departing to the east -- the opposite of the normal operating procedure.

Travelers were advised to check with their airlines for the latest information.

Southwest Airlines posted a notice on their website warning that service Friday and Saturday "may be disrupted."

According to Southwest, flights may be delayed, diverted and/or canceled for the following cites: Burbank, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, Ontario, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose.

"Customers who are holding reservation to, from or through the above cities on Friday Feb. 17 or Saturday Feb. 18 and (who) want to alter their travel plans may rebook in the original class of service or travel standby within 14 days of their original date of travel between the original city-pairs and in accordance with our accommodation procedures without paying any additional charge," the statement said.

Dozens of flights were also canceled at Burbank Hollywood Airport. In Orange County, the storm forced the cancellation of multiple flights at John Wayne Airport with American Airlines canceling all of its takeoffs and arrivals until 7:30 p.m.

Southwest Airlines also canceled most of Friday's flights, airport spokeswoman Deanne Thompson said.

Other carriers have called off a few flights, she said.

"We expect delays and diversions due to the weather today," Thompson said.

There hasn't been much commotion at the airport over it because the airlines "do a good job of reaching out to their customers" to alert them to a cancellation, she said. Airport officials also are using social media to alert passengers.

"For the most part it's pretty calm" at the airport, Thompson said.

"It's very windy, and the wind is the main problem," Thompson said.

"And we expect heavy rain later today. There are some flights taking off, and for some it's business as usual but in an abundance of caution other flights are being canceled."

On Saturday morning, as rain was expected to taper off, flights heading into LAX were experiencing delays of an average of 31 minutes. Flights heading to San Francisco International Airport from LAX were also experiencing delays.

Alasa, American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, Soutwest and United airlines were waving change or cancelation fees for tickets that were booked. 

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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