Environment & Science

East Coast storm 'Hercules' disrupts flights in and out of LAX (updated)

A United screen at LAX Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, showing multiple cancelations.
A United screen at LAX Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, showing multiple cancelations.
Jed Kim/KPCC
A United screen at LAX Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, showing multiple cancelations.
A man walks a dog down the middle of a snow covered street during winter storm 'Hercules' Jan. 3, 2014 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The storm which is expected to dump up to two feet of snow in part of the northeast forced the shutdown of airports and highways across the region.
Michael Heiman/Getty Images

Updated 2:23 p.m. LAX released the following statement at 1:50 p.m.:

Airlines at LAX are reporting cancellations of a total of 35 flights through midnight tonight related to the storm system impacting the Northeastern United States. Of those flights, eight were departing LAX – three from Jet Blue, one from United and four from American Airlines. Airlines expect to re-book the displaced passengers from cancelled flights throughout this weekend. Passengers are advised to check with their airlines on flight status before coming to LAX and to sign up on the airlines' websites to receive automated flight-status alerts.

Previously: Flight delays and cancellations continued out of Los Angeles International Airport on Friday morning. These included delays averaging more than three hours to Newark and two hours to Philadelphia, according to the Federal Aviation Administration's website. Because of low visibility due to the weather, departure delays were increasing Friday morning, according to the FAA.

Nationwide, thousands of flights were canceled Friday morning, with thousands more seeing delays.

Sherri Williamson told KPCC that she was trying to get back home to Newark, N.J.

"I understand we're going to be delayed, but the level of incompetence and the level of frustration is very, very high at this point," Williamson said.

She said she got her flight rebooked, but her new flight was canceled once again. She was with her party in town for the Rose Bowl.

Amy Mednick was trying to get home from visiting family Friday morning, going from the high desert of Joshua Tree to the cold of Rochester, N.Y.

"We're expecting a long day of travel, if not two days. Our flight is delayed at least three hours, so we're going to miss our connection to Rochester, so we're going to need to get on other flights," Mednick said.

Mark Harris tells KPCC that he was in town for the Rose Bowl and was at LAX trying to head to Detroit. Harris said it was easy getting into town, and — despite travel issues — he had a great time; his team won. He managed to get through security before being placed on standby for a 2 p.m. flight amid all the delays and cancellations.

Joe Bonifacio tells KPCC that he was delayed at LAX Thursday night. He was picked back up by his uncle, but was back Friday trying again.

Paul Metzger tells KPCC that he was at LAX looking to head to Hong Kong, and despite problems at the airport, he was cheerful about the ordeal. Metzger was trying to get home to get to work — he's a cargo flight captain.

"It happens all the time. You just have to smile and keep pressing on," Metzger said.

He said that, if necessary, he will use the multiple-day delay to hang out in L.A., his old stomping grounds. He said he planned to take the kids to Universal Studios or Disneyland.

"You always have to take something that isn't really great and turn it into something better," Metzger said. "It makes it a better situation for everybody."

On Thursday, 41 flights into and out of Los Angeles International Airport were canceled because of the massive winter storm "Hercules" on the East Coast, according to LAX officials.

Airport spokeswoman Nancy Castles says in a statement that more than 5,535 passengers were affected by the cancellations Thursday, which was "the final (and one of the busiest) days of the 14-day holiday travel period that began Friday, Dec. 20."

The 41 cancellations were out of a total of 1,560 flights scheduled Thursday at LAX, Castles says.

There are more than 180 daily nonstop flights between LAX and the affected airports, Castles said, including Chicago O'Hare and Midway, New York's JFK, Newark, Philadelphia and Boston. Castles added that most of the flights to the affected cities that did go through experienced delays of between 30 minutes and three hours.

The blizzard grounded hundreds of flights in those cities. Thousands more were delayed.

The delays also affected eight flights between LAX and Houston because their flight crews were based in Chicago.

KNSD-TV in San Diego reported that nearly 20 flights were canceled at San Diego International Airport due to the East Coast storm and dense fog on the Southern California coast, according to the Associated Press.

Stranded travelers shared their stories on social media:

ehehr1955 tweet

Kimberly London tweet

Dwight Miller tweet

alec_hobear tweet

Gabe Wheeler tweet

This story has been updated.