Airlines are getting back on track in Southern California after tropical storm

Several airports in Southern California continued to experience high cancellation rates Monday as the remnants of Tropical Storm Hilary caused widespread flooding and dumped record rainfall in some places.

San Diego, Long Beach, Orange County, Ontario, Burbank and Palm Springs airports each had between 9% and 20% of their Monday schedules canceled by the late morning. 

Los Angeles International Airport, however, was operating with a cancellation rate of less than 1%.

Overall, just less than 300 U.S. flights had been canceled on Monday, compared to the more than 1,000 that were canceled on Sunday, when Hilary made landfall in Baja California and then worked its way north to the U.S.

Southwest, the largest airline in California, canceled the most flights on Sunday and early Monday, with a 17% cancellation rate Sunday and 7% of its Monday schedule canceled by 10 a.m. on the West Coast, according to FlightAware.

Normal operations should resume by the middle of the day, the Southwest said in a Monday morning email. 

“As California’s largest carrier, we made proactive adjustments to our flight schedule throughout the weekend and communicated those with the customers affected by them, sharing details of our travel advisory that allows additional flexibility to self-serve rebooking on,” the airline said. “We’re continually in this process when there are weather challenges but, ostensibly, for Hilary, we’re returning to a normal operation here in the coming couple of hours and will have our full schedule to assist and accommodate any customers whose travel plans were impacted by the storm.”

Frontier had the second-highest cancellation percentage of the 10 largest U.S. carriers on Sunday at 13%. By late Monday morning, Frontier had canceled 7% of its Monday schedule. 

Frontier spokeswoman Jennifer DeLaCruz said its challenges have been caused by its heavy concentration of flights in Las Vegas. 

About 20% of flights at Las Vegas’ Harry Reid Airport were canceled on Sunday. It had the most total cancellations of any U.S. airport.  Four percent of scheduled Monday flights out of Las Vegas had been canceled by the late morning.

Each of the 10 largest U.S. airlines have waivers in effect through Monday for itineraries that include a Southern California airport.  Some waivers also include Las Vegas. 

Most carriers are waiving fare differences and any applicable change fees when a flight is rebooked for the same city pairs with travel beginning over the next several days. Frontier and Allegiant are waiving change fees but not fare differentials.

Correction: American Airlines is waiving fare differences on rebookings. An earlier version of this report said in error that AA wasn’t.

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