SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Southwest Airlines canceled hundreds of flights over the weekend, blaming the woes on air traffic control issues and weather.
The airline canceled more than 1,000 flights, or 28% of its schedule as of 2 p.m. ET Sunday, according to flight tracker FlightAware.
Customers who are affected should look into self-service rebooking options, according to Southwest Airlines' Facebook post.
Southwest said in a statement that the airline "experienced weather challenges in our Florida airports at the beginning of the weekend, challenges that were compounded by unexpected air traffic control issues in the same region, triggering delays and prompting significant cancellations for us beginning Friday evening."
"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," Southwest said in a statement. "With fewer frequencies between cities in our current schedule, recovering during operational challenges is more difficult and prolonged,
Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA), Southwest pilots' labor union, wrote in a statement that it is aware of operational difficulties and that its pilots "are not participating in any official or unofficial job actions."
"Our Pilots will continue to overcome SWA management’s poor planning, as well as any external operational challenges, and remain the most productive Pilots in the world," SWAPA wrote.
In another press release, the pilot's union wrote that claims on social media about Southwest pilots are false.
"There are no work slowdowns or sickouts either related to the recent mandatory vaccine mandate or otherwise," the union wrote in the release.
The cancellations mark the highest rate by far of the major U.S. airlines.
Next in line are Allegiant and Spirit, both of which had canceled 5% and 4% of its flights respectively, according to the flight tracker.
American Airlines canceled 2% of its flights.
Travelers at the Sacramento Airport react:
People at Sacramento International Airport were also affected by Southwest Airlines flight cancellations.
"I’m just not happy with Southwest right now," said Dan Weller, who was supposed to be in Orange County for his mother's 102nd birthday.
Weller’s flight to Orange County was canceled on Saturday. When he showed up to his rebooked flight on Sunday, he was told, once again, that his flight had been canceled.
"I can understand it happening once, but happening twice? No," he said.
Attempting to get to Las Vegas, Tanya Cole's flight had also been canceled the night before. She was rebooked for this Sunday morning but received yet another message from Southwest Airlines.
"Got ready to get on the shuttle this morning and right before that, I got the text that it’s been canceled," Cole said.
Gurindar Rai, whose flight to Los Angeles was also canceled, said when he asked for the reason for the cancellations, a representative with Southwest Airlines told him it was because of an employee walkout.
"They said it's because of the mandate of the vaccine requirement for Southwest employees," Rai said. "They said that they’ve had a lot of employees walk out."
A statement from Southwest Airlines said that cancellations were due to weather and air-traffic-control-related issues, but the airline did not respond when asked about an employee walk-out due to the vaccine requirement for all airline employees that was to go into effect on Dec. 8.
ABC10: Watch, Download, Read