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Flight cancellations continue at LAX, high gas prices plague Angelenos as Fourth of July travel crunch begins

Travel troubles plaguing Angelenos ahead of Fourth of July weekend
Travel troubles plaguing Angelenos ahead of Fourth of July weekend 02:24

Los Angeles and Orange County freeways will be getting a lot busier as holiday travel begins for millions of people for the Fourth of July weekend. And as flight cancellations continue at the Los Angeles International Airport, some travelers are a little more than nervous.

Los Angeles International Airport officials said they expect to see as many as 115,000 departing passengers passing through the airport each day Thursday through Saturday, and again next Tuesday and Wednesday. 

As of 3 p.m. Thursday afternoon, LAX reported 33 total delays and 19 canceled flights. 

"We're eager to travel, I booked this a long time ago, but it's a little stressful with all the rules," said Chris Drohan, who was headed out of country with his family.

Some travelers have been dealing with the stress of missing or canceled flights. 

"Border protection the line was so long we were standing there for 90 minutes," said Anna Kirali to CBSLA Wednesday, as she was coming from Hungary. 

A delayed connection and customs nightmare made her miss her flight to Hawaii. 

"They rebooked us for a flight for tomorrow and now we're just trying to figure out a hotel or stay at the airport," Kirali said.

She's not alone in having her flight plans affected by a series of different factors. One looming issue plaguing airlines is short-handed staffs, after many employees left during the pandemic.

As many as 90,000 departing passengers are anticipated on Sunday and Monday.

"We expect the Independence Day holiday weekend to be the busiest we've had in more than two years, and we want to make sure our guests know about the tools available that can make every part of their journey easier and faster," Justin Erbacci, CEO of Los Angeles World Airports, said in a statement. "Spending just a few minutes online to check traffic conditions, pre-book parking and review any recent communications from your airline can ensure you have a great start or end to your summer vacation."

Along with elevated numbers, as a large number of Americans begin to travel for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic struck in 2020, airlines and airports are dealing with staffing shortages, including TSA agents, air traffic controllers and pilots. 

On Thursday, dozens of Delta Airlines pilots picketed outside of one of LAX's many terminals, as they protest for the end of delayed contract negotiations with airline officials. They're calling for higher pay, better working conditions and scheduling changes to reduce the impact of flight cancellations.

At LAX alone, TSA agents have reported scanning nearly two million travelers every day throughout June. 

Airport officials urged travelers to arrive early and check traffic conditions in the terminal area using the Twitter site @FlyLAXstats. Travelers were also urged to book airport parking in advance at

Across the country, 48 million people are expected to be traveling for the holiday, according to the Auto Club, with the vast majority reaching their destination by driving -- despite near-record-high gas prices.

According to AAA, 3.3 million Southern Californians will drive to their destinations for the long weekend, while 426,000 will fly. About 168,000 will travel by other means, such as bus, train or cruise ship.

"From today through Monday, 3.3 million people here in Southern California are taking a trip of 50 miles or more away from home," said AAA Spokesman Doug Shupe. "The vast majority of them, even with these high gas prices, will be taking road trips."

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