Southwest cancellations fuel misery at LAX, Burbank airport

The massive Southwest Airlines crash caused chaos at airports across the country and changed the lives of thousands of passengers.

Many people stranded at California airports now have to wait days to get back on a Southwest flight.

Here are some stories from Los Angeles International Airport and Hollywood Burbank Airport.

Nothing to do but wait

Southwest’s baggage claim counters are still decked out in tinsel and Christmas ornaments.

Luis and Ruth Hernandez of Torrance sat on the edge of the Southwest terminal at LAX Tuesday morning. They were joined by Sissi, their Yorkie, who was wearing a Christmas sweater.

The trio was bound for Omaha to visit their daughter and grandchildren, but their connecting flight to Phoenix was canceled.

Rather than being stuck in another state, they decided they would try to reschedule, but the first flight they found was for Sunday.

“When it comes to the weather, there’s nothing we can do,” Luis Hernandez said.

The delay throws off all their plans: the holidays have to be rescheduled and the grandchildren are going back to school.

“Sissi was going to see her family, too,” Ruth Hernandez said, noting that two other Yorkies were waiting for the trio in Nebraska.

Traffic was brisk entering Hollywood Burbank Airport Tuesday morning, unlike so many congested airports across the country, with cars reaching curbside counters within minutes.

Inside the airport, the lines around the Southwest Airlines terminal were short, seven to 10 flyers deep, and lacked the drama associated with dozens of cancellations across the country.

That’s not to say there isn’t a lack of frustration. Maria Valenciano Ramos and her husband, Geronima Ramos Jr., arrived at the Southwest Airlines desk in Terminal A looking for answers around 8 a.m.

The Arcadia couple planned to fly to Nashville Monday morning to visit their 34-year-old daughter, Francesca, who lives in the nearby Spring Hill neighborhood. They said their flight was canceled without the courtesy of a text or email and they only found out when their daughter called and informed them.

“That’s not how customer service is done,” said Arcadia resident Valenciano Ramos. “I don’t know why Southwest couldn’t let us know and why we had to find out ourselves.”

Ramos Jr. said he and his wife called customer service Monday and were “on hold for three hours” before being rescheduled for a flight that night that was also canceled.

Frustrated, they drove to the airport on Tuesday looking for options. They were told that their first available flight was New Year’s Sunday morning.

Ramos Jr. She said she checked with other airlines, but was “shocked” to see similar flights ranging from $1,200 to $1,600 more per ticket than what she paid.

“The other airlines are taking advantage of the opportunity,” Valenciano Ramos said. The couple eventually rebooked for January. 1 with no set return date.

His original flight was due to return in January. 3.

“This has changed our entire schedule, all our holidays,” said Valenciano Ramos. “It’s sad.”

Elderly people sleeping in wheelchair

Kate Schelter, 43, was on her way to Los Angeles from Oakland on Monday for a vacation with her 9-year-old and 12-year-old sons.

Their flight to Southwest Oakland, which was supposed to take off at 7:25 a.m., was delayed, and instead of waiting, Schelter and her children left the flight for 9 in the morning, and they decided to drive on highway 5. . in Los Angeles.

They waited another four hours at the Oakland airport to retrieve the bags, but were unsuccessful.

They drove to Los Angeles and were able to pick up their bags at LAX Tuesday morning, even though their original flight was canceled, Schelter said. Schelter said he won’t be flying Southwest again anytime soon.

“There was no organization [in Oakland]just bags everywhere,” he said. “I saw old people hunched over and sleeping in their wheelchairs. It was really sad.”

Trying to make the most of a bad situation

Michael Migliorini sat in an awkward position on the floor of the Southwest Terminal at LAX. The contractor from Portland, Ore., tried to gather his thoughts after his 5 a.m. flight home was canceled.

Flights with other airlines were too expensive and he couldn’t find any train tickets.

“I couldn’t think of a better place to be stuck,” Migliorini said wryly.

Andy Robinson of Denver waited in line to get a hotel voucher. He and his family flew to Los Angeles to watch the Denver Broncos play the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. The Broncos lost 51-14.

“This has only added to our misery,” Robinson said. He was able to book a flight home on Thursday, but his schedule continues to be plagued by cancellations and other delays.

His relative said they should rent a car and drive back to Denver.

“Maybe we could do it. I’m trying to look at it positively,” Robinson said. “I’m in California. I’m in flip-flops.”

Next available flight: Saturday

Roger and Jane Truesdale thought they caught their own Christmas miracle when they successfully checked in online for their 5:15 Tuesday morning flight from Burbank to Denver.

Jane Truesdale, 74, paid $60 for an early check-in and was thankful she and her husband missed Southwest Airlines’ massive nationwide cancellations.

However, her luck ran out 15 minutes later when Jane Truesdale received a text alerting her of the couple’s canceled flight.

Not knowing what to do, they moved to Burbank in hopes of rescheduling.

They and hundreds of passengers were told by Southwest attendants that the earliest a flight was rescheduled was Saturday.

The option was a non-starter for the couple, who said they hadn’t packed enough medicine to last until then.

The couple had arrived in town from Estes Park, Colo., on Christmas Eve to visit their son.

They said that renting a car or taking the bus back was not a possibility and that they would look into flights from other airlines.

“It’s not ideal,” said Roger Truesdale, 77, “but we have to go home and hopefully find a good replacement.”

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