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China-bound passengers stranded at LAX?

June 2, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Dozens of angry passengers say they were stranded at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) after their China-bound flight was canceled more than two days ago.One stranded passengers said he believes there are 40 others like him staying at a nearby hotel, coming back and forth to LAX to try to get a flight out.

Two days after it was scheduled to depart from LAX to Shanghai, a China Eastern Airlines flight took off Tuesday afternoon, but not with everyone aboard.

Inside the terminal at LAX, passenger Quang Lung Chen argued with airline ticket counter personnel. Chen has been stranded since trying to board the flight on Sunday for a business trip.

That Sunday flight and another on Monday were both canceled because of mechanical problems, according to LAX officials. Those delays left Chen and more than 200 people stranded.

"I [am] very upset," said traveler Quang Lung Chen.

Chen says though the airline has put him and other passengers up in a nearby hotel, he is frustrated because he says he hasn't gotten a straight answer.

Chen, who's headed to Shanghai on business, says he wasn't able to get on Tuesday's flight because airline officials allowed women and children on the flight first and the plane filled up.

"We always come here and go back to hotel, come back and go to hotel," said Quang Lung Chen. "It's been two days."

"I called China Eastern hotline many times but the hotline always busy," said stranded passenger Qian Yafen. "And at the hotline nobody answer[s] the telephone."

China Eastern Airline personnel would not comment on the issue Tuesday, but LAX officials released a statement:

"Passengers whose China Eastern Flight to Shanghai was canceled Sunday and Monday due to a mechanical problem are being accommodated. There were 279 passengers affected. ... Passengers were provided with hotel accommodations while awaiting flight arrangements."

It is unclear when the remaining stranded passengers will depart. LAX officials say China Eastern Airlines is making refunds available, and is booking passengers on other flights on their airline or on other airlines.

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