Demand for rental cars, Amtrak skyrockets after flight cancellation fiasco

Dan Smith

Civilians navigate travel nightmare at Sacramento International Airport
Civilians navigate travel nightmare at Sacramento International Airport 03:32
SACRAMENTO -- While thousands of people are rescheduling and waiting for canceled Southwest Airlines flights, business for other companies within the travel industry is booming. Demand for rental cars nationwide surged after Southwest Airlines canceled thousands of flights in the past 48 hours. The company canceled more than 2,660 of his scheduled flights, or 65%, as of 5 p.m. PT Tuesday, according to flight tracking website FlightAware. Those flights accounted for more than half of the nearly 5,000 flights canceled nationwide on Tuesday across all companies. But Southwest Airlines had the most disruption to its schedule, with nearly 900 flights delayed. With many abandoning air travel, stranded travelers turned to rental cars to stay on track. Demand for rental cars at Sacramento International Airport on Monday resulted in a 2 hour rental wait. By Tuesday, lines were average and availability was "hit and miss," according to an employee at the car rental company. For many, it was "the only option," said Caitlin Balthrop. A traveler told CBS13 that the rental for a family of four was the last one-way vehicle rented on Tuesday. Another traveler told CBS13 that he picked up his one last vehicle for the company at a shared rental car office near the airport. On Tuesday, Amtrak trips from Sacramento to San Diego and Los Angeles sold out. Other California trips, including San Francisco and Fresno (including airport cities), were partially sold out with only a few tickets remaining.