NATIONAL NEWS

Southwest Airlines cancels more than 1,000 flights Sunday

Oct 10, 2021, 3:08 PM | Updated: 3:12 pm
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)...
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

(CNN) — The long weekend got a bit longer for Southwest customers after the airline canceled more than 1,000 flights on Sunday. That’s roughly 27% of its daily operations. It’s the second day of mass cancellations by the world’s largest low-cost carrier.

The company blamed the cancellations on air traffic control problems and limited staffing in Florida as well as bad weather.

“We’ve continued diligent work throughout the weekend to reset our operation with a focus on getting aircraft and crews repositioned to take care of our customers,” the airline in a statement Sunday.

In a statement, the Federal Aviation Administration said there have been no air traffic related cancellations since Friday. The agency said that airlines are experiencing delays because of aircraft and crews being out of place.

“Flight delays and cancellations occurred for a few hours Friday afternoon due to widespread severe weather, military training and limited staffing in one area of the Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center,” the FAA said.

However, other airlines did not appear to be as severely impacted by these issues. On Sunday, American Airlines canceled 2% of its flights and low-budget Spirit Airlines also canceled 2%, according to FlightAware.

It’s a busy travel weekend as Monday is a federal holiday. Southwest canceled 808 flights on Saturday, stranding thousands of passengers across the country.

Marye Cory was set to fly from Oklahoma City to Orlando Sunday morning for a cruise. At 3 AM she saw her flight had been canceled and spent more than eight hours on the phone with customer service.

Cory said she has spent more than $400 and used 20,000 credit card points on a United flight that will depart the morning of her cruise. She also lost money on a booked AirBnb in Orlando and had to rearrange childcare.

“I’ve flown with Southwest over 200 times and I’ve always been very happy with their customer service,” Cory said. “I hope they sort this out.”

Last week, the airline announced a vaccine mandate for employees, fueling speculation that the weekend delays may have been caused by a pilot walk-out.

“Southwest Airlines must join our industry peers in complying with the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccination directive,” Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines Chairman and CEO said in a statement. “I encourage all Southwest Employees to meet the federal directive, as quickly as possible, since we value every individual and want to ensure job security for all.”

The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association claimed the cancellations were due to “management’s poor planning.” CNN has reached out to SWAPA for comment.

“SWAPA is aware of operational difficulties affecting Southwest Airlines today due to a number of issues, but we can say with confidence that our pilots are not participating in any official or unofficial job actions,” the union said in a statement.

Southwest has had a difficult year. The airline had the worst on-time performance and the greatest percentage of canceled flights of any of the nation’s four major airlines in June and July, according to flight tracking service Cirium. Passengers aren’t the only ones upset with Southwest: Unions for pilots, flight attendants and mechanics have all voiced complaints about the airline’s operations.

Southwest promised to address the problems by scheduling fewer flights in the fall.

“To any Southwest customer whose journey with us fell short of their expectation this summer, we offer our sincerest apologies,” said a statement from Kelly. “We’re confident these adjustments will create a more reliable travel experience.”

The airline said the modified schedule affected operations this weekend.

“With fewer frequencies between cities in our current schedule, recovering during operational challenges is more difficult and prolonged,” Southwest said in a statement.

CNN’s Chris Isidore contributed to this report.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

The near-collision happened at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, seen here from the air. (Kir...
Greg Wallace and Pete Muntean

Southwest, FedEx jets came within 100 feet of collision at Texas airport, investigators say

A Southwest passenger jet and a FedEx cargo plane came as close as 100 feet from colliding Saturday at the main airport in Texas' capital, and it was a pilot — not air traffic controllers — who averted disaster, a top federal investigator says.
1 day ago
In this handout photo provided by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Nathan Lee Chasing ...
Rio Yamat, Associated Press

‘Dances With Wolves’ actor charged in Nevada sex abuse case

Former “Dances With Wolves” actor Nathan Chasing Horse has been formally charged in Nevada with eight felonies and two misdemeanors.
1 day ago
police tape outside of a Virginia elementary school...
Denise Lavoie and Ben Finley, Associated Press

Boy who shot teacher allegedly tried to choke another

An attorney for a teacher who was shot and wounded by a 6-year-old Virginia boy says in a legal notice that the first-grader constantly cursed at staff and teachers, chased students around and tried to whip them with his belt and once choked another teacher “until she couldn’t breathe.”
1 day ago
IN SPACE - FEBRUARY 8: In this handout photo provided by SpaceX, a Tesla roadster launched from the...
Jackie Wattles

SpaceX put a Tesla sportscar into space five years ago. Where is it now?

It's been half a decade since Elon Musk launched his own Tesla car into space with a SpaceX rocket, but where is it now?
1 day ago
AMC raises seat prices...
Associated Press

AMC to charge more for good seats in movie theaters

Middle seats at many U.S. movie theaters just got more expensive.
1 day ago
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - NOVEMBER 10: In this photo illustration, the FTX website is seen on a computer o...
Allison Morrow

FTX to politicians: Give us back our donations or we’ll sue you

New FTX management is pressuring hundreds of politicians and political organizations to return millions of dollars donated by them or its founders before it went bankrupt.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Southwest Airlines cancels more than 1,000 flights Sunday