Southwest Is California’s ‘Unofficial Airline.’ The Meltdown Has Residents Anxious.

“There are a ton of us on these flights which are primarily commuting between Northern and Southern California,” she stated.

State legislators from Southern California fly Southwest so usually that an ecosystem has developed round their schedules, with lobbyists reserving flights firstly or finish of the week within the hope of sitting subsequent to a lawmaker. Southwest accounts for greater than half of visitors at Sacramento Worldwide Airport.

“The Legislature is completely depending on Southwest functioning,” stated Tom Umberg, a Democratic state senator. He has commuted to the state capital for years from Orange County and says the airline is the one actual choice for his 450-mile commute, apart from Interstate 5, a significant north-south freeway that runs by way of California.

Ms. Friedman stated she would face a seven-hour drive if she couldn’t catch her normal Southwest airplane from Burbank, which she has come to treat as “a large flying bus.”

“I take pleasure in it,” she stated. “I like there’s no first-class, and everyone seems to be there, consuming the identical Chex Combine or no matter it’s for breakfast.”

A Democrat, Ms. Friedman stated she would often sit with a Republican senator from one other a part of Los Angeles County, and use the flight to atone for work, a minimum of when the airplane was not crammed with faculty teams on subject journeys to Sacramento. This current episode, nonetheless, has been sobering, she stated.

“We don’t have statewide mass transit system in California, and we have to do extra to help our rail community,” she stated, planning for the Legislature’s return subsequent week to Sacramento. She has a few payments in thoughts for that, she added — assuming that she makes it there.

David Montgomery contributed reporting from Austin, Texas.