According to flight tracking website FlightAware, the world’s largest low-cost airline cancelled 3 out of every 10 flights originally scheduled to depart on Sunday, and the interruption continued until Monday (a federal holiday). So far, 337 flights (approximately one in ten) have been cancelled. .
The company blamed the cancellation on air traffic control issues, limited personnel in Florida, and severe weather. It told CNN late Sunday that it was “more difficult and time-consuming” to return operations to normal due to reduced schedules and personnel during the pandemic.
The airline said in a statement: “We have continued to work hard throughout the weekend to rearrange our operations, with the focus on repositioning the aircraft and crew to take care of our customers.”
The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement that there have been no cancellations related to air traffic since Friday. The agency stated that airlines are experiencing delays due to the absence of aircraft and crew.
The FAA said: “Due to widespread severe weather, military training and limited personnel in an area of the Jacksonville Route Traffic Control Center, there were several hours of flight delays and cancellations on Friday afternoon.”
However, other airlines do not seem to be severely affected by these problems. According to FlightAware, American Airlines cancelled 2% of its flights on Sunday, and the low-cost Spirit Airlines also cancelled 2%.
This is a busy travel weekend because Monday is a federal holiday. Southwest Airlines cancelled 808 flights on Saturday, causing thousands of passengers across the country to be stranded.
We just drive
Marye Cory was originally scheduled to fly from Oklahoma City to Orlando on Sunday morning for a cruise. At 3 am, she saw that her flight had been cancelled and spent more than 8 hours on the phone with the customer service department.
Corey said that she spent more than $400 and used 20,000 credit card points on a United flight that will depart on the morning of the cruise. She also lost money on the AirBnb booked in Orlando and had to reschedule the childcare service.
“I have flown with Southwest Airlines more than 200 times and I have always been very satisfied with their customer service,” Corey said. “I hope they can solve this problem.”
Kate Peffer told CNN that after Southwest Airlines cancelled the second part of her flight on Sunday, she was forced to rent a car and drove 900 miles. She was at LaGuardia Airport and then returned to Phoenix.
“I’m on my way to my final destination,” Peffer told CNN. “We were forced to rent a car and drive 900 miles home.”
Last week, the airline announced that it was vaccinating its employees, sparking speculation that weekend delays might be caused by pilot strikes.
The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association claimed that the cancellation was due to “bad management plans.” CNN has contacted SWAPA for comments.
Southwest Airlines had a difficult year. According to data from the flight tracking service company Cirium, in June and July, the airline had the worst punctuality rate, and the proportion of cancelled flights was any of the four major airlines in the country. Passengers are not the only ones dissatisfied with Southwest Airlines: the pilots, flight attendants, and mechanics unions have all filed complaints about the airline’s operations.
A statement from Kelly said: “For any Southwestern customers who traveled with us this summer did not meet their expectations, we extend our sincerest apologies to them.” “We believe these adjustments will create a more reliable travel experience.”
The airline said the revised timetable affected operations this weekend.
Southwest Airlines said in a statement: “In our current schedule, there is less frequency between cities, and recovery during operational challenges is more difficult and lasting.”
— CNN’s Chris Isidore, Pete Muntean, Greg Wallace and Alisha Ebrahimji contributed to this report.