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Local visitors deal with travel chaos caused by weather and COVID

It's been a tough week for travelers across the United States.

More than 3,000 U.S. flights were canceled by late afternoon Monday on the East Coast, according to tracking service FlightAware. Another 5,600 in the U.S. were delayed.

With the Coachella Valley being a big travel destination. Nate Turk was trying to get home to San Francisco and dealt with delays. His entire extended family also had their flights delayed. He said he was on the phone with united for two hours trying to change his flight.

"It was delayed a few hours. And I was really looking forward to getting back home and having time to settle down before work starts tomorrow," said Turk. "It's funny since I woke up this morning to a lot of emails of people having to take today off because their flights yesterday were canceled. So I feel like everyone's travel plans are just in limbo."

According to data provided by the Palm Springs Internation Airport, flight cancelations were pretty low up until the holiday weekend, never reaching double-digits. It's a different story as we reached the holiday season. From Dec. 23 to Dec. 31, there was a total of 52 cancelations. So far in January, the airport has reported 40 cancelations.

Airport officials said a lot of the cancelation stemmed from the major storm that led to a lot of canceled flights throughout the US.

"I had a flight this morning that got delayed for two hours and from what I heard was due to understaffed or something like that," said traveler Connor Sweetman. "Little upsetting. Kind of wanted to get it all over with and get here and be done with it but it is what it is. Can't do much about it."

Sweetman said several of his other friends also dealt with frustrating delays getting to Palm Springs. Ultimately, many travelers are dealing with a rough start to the new year. 

"I hope that we can get through this quickly and safely and that everyone can get home safe," said Turk.

If you're flying out anytime soon, you can prepare now by:

  • Packing light to avoid checking bags
  • Checking the status before you go to the airport
  • Look into some alternate destination options just in case there are last minute changes to your flight
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Marian Bouchot

Marian Bouchot is the weekend morning anchor and a reporter for KESQ News Channel 3. Learn more about Marian here.

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