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Travelers at John Wayne Airport scramble after Southwest Airlines cancels all flights

About 100 people were clustered around the Southwest Airlines counter at John Wayne Airport this afternoon, trying to make arrangements after it canceled all flights in and out of Southern California airports because of extreme weather conditions.

In all, 57 arrivals and departures at the Orange County airport were scrubbed.

Dartagnan Pendleton, 41, stared at the flight board, assessing his options. There weren’t many. Every Southwest flight out of John Wayne had been canceled, including his afternoon flight to Oakland.

“Yeah, it is a big deal,” he said. “My father is a quadriplegic and his wife is going away on business tomorrow, and I need to be there to take care of him.”

He said he was considering taking a flight to Fresno on another airline or even renting a car in Orange County and driving to Oakland.

“I don’t know whether I can get through on the 5" Freeway, he said.

Vincent Vancil, 34, was supposed to catch a 3:30 p.m. flight to Oakland, but instead found himself milling around John Wayne.

“If I don’t get home by tomorrow morning, my wife’s going to be upset,” he said. “She has plenty of things to do.”

Shelby Stewart, 32, his wife, son and in-laws made the best of the situation after learning their flight home to Salt Lake City has been scrubbed. They had been in Orange County since Sunday, visiting Disneyland and taking in the sights.

But after finding out Thursday afternoon that booking the eight of them on another flight would cost $2,800, they decided instead to rent a car and head to San Diego.

“We said, 'Why not just extend our trip for a few days and have an adventure?'” Stewart said.

Six other familiy members got out earlier in the day before Southwest began shutting down flights. But they didn’t get far.

Stewart said the last he’d heard, they were grounded in Oakland.

—Mike Anton at John Wayne Airport

Comments () | Archives (2)

God Bless all these travelers who have other places to be and may a Legion of Angels be at their sides through this difficult time and weather. In Jesus' name, Amen.

This isn't rocket science... So Cal area experienced weather, specifically wind and thunderstorms we otherwise wouldn't encounter. Other airports in the US experience issues quite often; here in So Cal we don't so it's assumed to be poor on the airline in question.

Southwest did the right thing and proactively cancelled flights instead of loading up passengers and waiting for the weather to improve. We all know the ground waits away from the gate can be lengthy - Southwest did the right thing by NOT exposing passengers to that.


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