At least six flights between Los Angeles International Airport and areas of Mexico about to be slammed by Hurricane Patricia were canceled today, and more cancellations are likely to occur over the weekend as the powerful storm closes Mexican airports and leaves many travelers stranded in place.
Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines each canceled one LAX flight bound for Puerto Vallarta, along with one flight each from Puerto Vallarta to Los Angeles, according to the flight-tracking website FlightAware.com.
American Airlines canceled one flight in each direction between LAX and Guadalajara.
Four flights to and from Puerto Vallarta were canceled at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, spokeswoman Rachel Gibson said.
“Due to potential impacts of Hurricane Patricia, we recommend passengers traveling to/from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, check with their airline to confirm flight status prior to arriving at the airport,” Gibson said.
Alaska Airlines was able to fly one flight — which it dubbed a “rescue flight” — carrying 150 passengers out of Puerto Vallarta to LAX. That flight arrived in Los Angeles around 1:30 p.m.
LAX spokesman Marshall Lowe said passengers will have to work with individual airlines on travel arrangements, but airport officials were doing what they can to assist.
“At this point, there’s nothing we can do. The individual airlines usually handle the contingencies when things like this occur,” Lowe said. “We help out when and where we can. We will have people going around giving out water, etc., and volunteers to provide help, but generally it’s in a support role to the airlines and the airport police, if they are involved.”
Los Angeles Airport police Officer Rob Pedregon said the department was available to assist, but their main goal it so maintain “crowd control.”
“It’s OK if someone is mad and irate at a counter, but we have to make sure it doesn’t get out of hand,” he said.
To ensure that, officers are prepared to quickly arrive when called, Pedregon said.
“If we have to, we can have a hundred officers there in less than five minutes,” Pedrogan said, noting that the LAPD’s Pacific Division is only a few minutes away, as are personnel from the El Segundo and Inglewood police departments, who share nearby borders with Los Angeles.
Airline passengers were not the only travelers affected by the storm. Princess Cruises re-routed one of its ships, the Ruby Princess, which was scheduled to stop today in Cabo San Lucas. According to the cruise line’s Twitter account, the ship spent the day at sea instead, and will return to the Port of Los Angeles as scheduled on Sunday.