“It's Insane Here, Sheer Chaos”

Winter storms in other parts of the country wreaked havoc at Lindbergh field Saturday night and more flights were cancelled or delayed Sunday morning.

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"It's insane here, sheer chaos, the lines are around the terminal" passenger Colin Morgan said Saturday night.

Storms in the Midwest and Northeast mean many people won't make it home for the holidays as planned.  Some airlines are issuing travel waivers and refunds for flights.  United Airlines, US Airways and Continental Airlines are offering refunds for people scheduled to be on selected flights.  Travel agents say go to the website of your air carrier and check on your flight to reassess your options.

"I've been here for an hour and 45 minutes. I just tried to get on my flight doesn't look like i'm going get on. I might get moved to another flight hopefully.  I probably have to fly in through Oakland," Morgan said.

This is what travel experts have been warning about, airlines have been reducing flights to cut costs.  There aren't enough seats in the air to accommodate people whose flights were cancelled.

Eva Chayet of Chayet Travel in La Jolla said people need to stay connected online if possible.

"You can try to call the airline but it's very rare that you will get through because thousands of people are trying to call at the same time," said Chayet.  She said those who purchased tickets through a travel agent can ask their help with alternative routes.

There's little most people can do. "It's mother nature and the airlines don't have to change your flight plans until the very last minute," she said.  This week could see even more problems in San Diego. Forecasters say the next storm is due to arrive in San Diego overnight on Christmas Eve and could stick around into Friday.

Departing flights from Los Angeles International Airport to Denver were delayed at least 90 minutes Sunday because of the airliner
crash at Denver International Airport and National Transportation Safety Board investigators were at the site Sunday to begin their inquiry, officials said.

Continental Flight 1404 from Denver to Houston went off a runway during takeoff at 6:18 p.m. MST Saturday, the NTSB said. The Boeing 737-500 then landed in a ravine and caught fire.  About 38 of the 112 people on board were injured, two critically. There were no reports of any fatalities.  Denver Fire Chief Patrick Hynes said that firefighters arrived to find one side of the aircraft engulfed in flames.  Inside the cabin, overhead luggage compartments had melted onto the seats, the Los Angeles Times reported.

It was cold in Denver on Saturday, but it wasn't snowing at the time of the crash.  The cause of the accident is currently under investigation by the NTSB.

People flying from LAX to Denver were delayed up to an hour and 45 minutes, according to Ian Gregor of the FAA.   Arriving flights experienced airborne delays of 15 minutes or less.  

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