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Dozens of flights from LAX to East Coast are canceled

December 19, 2009 | 11:03 pm

At least 38 flights from Los Angeles International airport to East Coast destinations hit by winter storms were canceled Saturday, airport officials said late today.

LAX spokeswoman Nancy Castles said airport operations began hearing about canceled flights sometime after noon.

American Airlines canceled nine flights to New York’s JFK and two flights to Dulles near Washington, D.C.

United Airlines officials reported 11 cancellations involving flights to Baltimore, Dulles, Philadelphia and JFK, Castles said.

Other airlines canceling flights into JFK include Delta (five), Virgin America (seven) and Quantas (one).

Continental airlines reported three cancellations to Newark, Castles said. She did not have information from Southwest or JetBlue officials. Castles estimated that the cancellations affected more than 6,000 passengers, given the size of the aircraft and how full flights typically have been.

Castles said in some cases the cancellations may have been strategic, with airlines consolidating flights. United Airlines, she said, told airport operations that they still planned to send one flight each to JFK and Dulles tonight.

“If this was going to happen at all, it's better that it happened back east on a Saturday when people aren’t at work,” Castles said. “This gives the airlines a few days to catch up before you have a huge number of people trying to catch a smaller number of seats to their East Coast destinations for Christmas.”

She advised people traveling over the next few days to check ahead of time to make sure their flight is on schedule. She also cautioned holiday travelers to leave plenty of time to get to the airport, check bags and make their way through security.

“Get to your flight early so you aren’t bumped from your seats,” she said.

--Megan Garvey