Published Friday, Nov. 1, 2013 | 11:31 a.m.
Updated Friday, Nov. 1, 2013 | 12:02 p.m.
Thousands of fliers across the U.S. were delayed Friday after a shooting at Los Angeles International Airport closed parts of the airport. A prolonged shutdown at the nation's third largest airport will be particularly troublesome for those hoping to head to the East Coast or across the Pacific Ocean.
Flights bound for Los Angeles that had not yet taken off were held at their gates by the Federal Aviation Administration. Others in the air — including three JetBlue flights from the East Coast — diverted to other airports.
Officials at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas were asking travelers to check the status of flights before heading to the airport today in light of delays stemming from the shooting.
McCarran spokeswoman Christine Crews said all outbound flights to LAX were on hold, per the ground stop in Los Angeles. That order has already delayed several morning flights from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, and there are 35 Los Angeles-bound flights scheduled today from McCarran, she said.
“I think that number (of delays) could grow as the morning progresses,” Crews said.
McCarran also is serving as a temporary stop for flights en route to LAX. At least 10 flights bound this morning for LAX were diverted to McCarran, Crews said.
Travelers trying to fly out were unable to reach the airport because of large road closures. The shooting occured around 9:30 a.m. local time.
Los Angles is a major gateway for flights to Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Domestically, the largest cities served are: San Francisco, Las Vegas, New York, San Jose, Calif., San Diego and Phoenix.
Flight tracking site FlightAware.com said that as of 11 a.m. Pacific there were 12 flight cancelations and 132 flight delays to or from Los Angeles. To put that in perspective, there were 246 other flight cancelations Friday nationwide, mostly in New York and Philadelphia because of rain and heavy winds.
United Airlines, which operates out of terminals on the other side of the airport from the shooting, has issued a waiver for people traveling through Los Angeles, allowing them to change flights without paying a fee. Other airlines are expected to issue similar waivers.
"This situation is continuing to develop, and at this time we do not know the full extent of the impact to our operations," United spokeswoman Jennifer Dohm said via email.
JetBlue diverted flights from Boston, New York and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. to nearby Long Beach airport. Southwest diverted at least one flight — a trip from Chicago that landed in Denver.
Allegiant Air, which operates out of the terminal where the shooting occurred, had most of its flight depart prior to the incident. One flight to Bellingham, Wash. is delayed.