SAN DIEGO — After Southwest Airlines canceled the remainder of its flights in and out of San Diego International Airport Monday afternoon, travelers decided to ditch the planes and book a rental car to drive to their destination.

Travelers waited more than an hour in lines at several rental car booths Monday at the airport’s Rental Car Center.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Kimberly Hamilton as she waited in a line to purchase a rental car after her flight was canceled for two days. “We came to San Diego on the 20th, it was a Christmas present.”

Hailton says she and her family, including two children, were supposed to fly from San Diego, home to Dallas on Christmas Eve and make it home in time for Santa. After several delays and cancelations, she said Southwest rebooked them on a flight for Friday. She would have had to pay for five nights in a hotel, but instead booked a rental car and is making the 20-hour drive to Dallas.

“This is no way for kids to spend their Christmas, so we are going to drive home,” Hamilton said.

She and her two children had to spend Christmas night inside the airport because they were still in line to talk to a gate agent after midnight and were waiting for them to reopen at 4 a.m.

Hamilton is not the only one forgoing a plane ticket for a rental car.

“Since we can’t get any hotel rooms, we called and got a Budget car and we’re just going to drive back to Las Vegas,” Jay Healey said.

Chloe Ellis, a delayed traveler who is renting a car instead of flying, says “it’s very frustrating and discouraging for all of the passengers.”

The available rental cars were becoming scarce in several rental car lots as hundreds of people were awaiting a car.