Ontario International Airport holiday travelers face delays, cancellations – San Bernardino Sun

Holiday travelers making their way through Ontario International Airport faced delays and cancellations Friday, Dec. 23, as severe weather struck across the United States.

Ontario reported 21 canceled flights in the past 24 hours, according to Flight Aware and 50 flight delays — some reaching up to four hours, as of 3:30 p.m. Friday.

On Wednesday, Dec. 21, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration reported below freezing temperatures across the nation, from the northern Rockies in Colorado to the East Coast and as far south as the Gulf Coast. The weather is expected to last until Monday, Dec. 26, and its blizzard-like conditions could continue to affect travel plans.

Sandra Lovos, who was traveling to New Haven, Connecticut, with a layover in Dallas, plans to spend Christmas with her daughter. But her flight was delayed for more than four hours.

“I was tracking it since this morning because my daughter told me there was a storm going on,” said Lovos, who waited in line Friday at the gate to ensure she caught a connecting flight. “Since its California, I don’t keep track of the weather out there and she told me the weather was really bad out there. Hopefully nothing happens and I don’t get stuck in Dallas for so many hours waiting.”

Lovos was one of several passengers at the American Airlines gate awaiting a flight to Dallas, holding their breath that their departures wouldn’t be canceled.

Aaron Banks, a 38-year-old Oklahoma City resident, had come to California on Thursday to pick up his 11-year-old daughter Friday morning from her mother and take her back to Oklahoma City. Banks said he was worried about getting her home in time to celebrate Christmas.

“Last night, I flew from Oklahoma City to Dallas and from Dallas to John Wayne Airport and found out this morning that Frontier canceled the flight, saying it was coming from Denver,” Banks said. “Understandably, they didn’t have any other flights and it is stressful because I want to spend time with her, you know, and now we are spending time in an airport.”

Carmen Banks, 11, was hunkered down in the waiting area with her iPad out and stuff scattered around her feet for entertainment, Her dad waited in line to check on a connecting flight from Dallas to Oklahoma City.

Aaron Banks had driven to the airport in Oklahoma at 3 a.m. Thursday as the storm was coming in to make his flight to California. He recalled watching the storm and the dangerous conditions on the freeway as he navigated the icy weather.

“My whole motivation is to get to my daughter so she can have a Christmas,” Banks said. “It is not ‘I can reschedule.’ No, it’s my daughter is literally waiting for me.”

Dennis Anderson, director of operations for Ontario Airport, the airport and airlines prepared for the weather as best they could.

“We are always on standby for any type of situation at Ontario because we are a diversion airport, like last night we received nine diversions,” Anderson said.

The airport coordinated with airlines to utilize unused gates and prepare spots to park diverted planes, Anderson said.

Airlines handled cancellations and analyzed the weather to figure out what flights could go ahead and what flights needed to be canceled, he said.

Anderson said travelers should work with their airlines to change reservations.

Banks has his phone set to get text updates on his flight but his flight to Dallas was pushed back so far he had to research another connecting flight to Oklahoma City to get home.

“I did my research, I went on the app and I searched all flight numbers going in and out so I found the flight number I think I can make,” Banks said.

His experience was common Friday across the airport as passengers waited and calculated their ability to make connecting flights at other airports.

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