Holiday travelers crowd LAX as Midwest storm cancels hundreds of flights

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Sunday was one of the busiest travel days of the year at Los Angeles International Airport and around the country, and it was slowed down even more by a winter storm across the Midwest.

Not only was getting to the airport difficult, but so was trying to leave it to get home.

The traffic and waits were so bad that people were reporting rideshare surge pricing two or three times the normal rate - if available at all.

One University of Southern California student said she normally is charged about $20 to get back to campus on Uber. Sunday, the quoted price was $75.

"I'm planning on waiting right now 'til it drops a little bit or finding someone wearing an SC sweatshirt and asking if they want to split an Uber because it'll cut the price in half," said USC student Casey Becker.

More than 30 million Americans in 15 states were under weather alerts as a fast-moving winter storm blankets much of the central Midwest from Missouri to Chicago.

With much of the central plains and Great Lakes region under blizzard or winter storm warnings, more than 1,000 flights headed to or from the U.S. had been canceled as of 4:30 p.m. EST, according to the flight-tracking website FlightAware. Most were supposed to be routed through Chicago or Kansas City - areas hit hard by the storm.

The severe weather meant flight delays that impacted travel at LAX, which was already packed with people trying to get home after the holiday weekend. More than 2.5 million passengers are traveling through LAX during the Thanksgiving travel season, and more than 200,000 are expected to pass through on Sunday alone.

LAX officials said they expected 120,000 vehicles to drive through the airport Sunday.

"Coming from my perspective, I have school this week so a delayed flight would kind of be a bummer if I had to...wait for an additional flight or wait a little longer than I had planned on, so I can't imagine people who have to go back to work or school...I just hope all the best for them," said Chino Hills resident Tori Westra.

To check on flight delays and cancellations at LAX, visit

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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