NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There were long lines and frustration at many airports nationwide this weekend on the heels of a slew of flight cancellations by Southwest, the nation’s largest domestic airline.
Cancellations started Friday and have continued stacking up since. At LaGuardia Airport, more than half of the 27 departures scheduled for Sunday were either delayed or canceled.
CBS2’s Thalia Perez spoke with many frustrated passengers who said they just want the airline to get it together.
“Yesterday, the flight was cancelled at 5:30 p.m. when it was time for us to leave and today they cancelled it at 8:59 p.m.,” said Martha Martin of Dallas.
Martin was trying to get home to Texas with her husband. She said she was on her third attempt this weekend to try and book another flight.
Cancellations have left passengers like Martin stranded in long lines or stuck on hold on the phone.
“They probably had a sense that this might happen earlier in the day and so some better warning might have been better,” said Manuel Valencia of Dallas.
More than 1,000 flights were cancelled Sunday. That’s nearly one-third of Southwest’s schedule. Another 800 flights were scrapped Saturday.
Long lines and crowded terminals were part of the scene in Miami.
“It kind of makes you apprehensive on traveling and counting on the flights to get back home. I may be driving next time,” one traveler said.
The airline blames the cancellations and delays on air traffic control issues and weather, but the Federal Aviation Administration attributes the disruptions to staffing and aircraft issues.
No other airline reported similar problems Sunday.
Amber Hardy said she just paid $1,200 to fly home Monday with a friend on another carrier.
“I’m not happy about it, but I don’t necessarily blame Southwest. It’s not their fault. They need to get their staffing together or they shouldn’t be having the flights they have,” Hardy said.
Southwest’s pilot union is denying it’s a sickout or protest. On Friday, it asked a court to temporarily block the airline’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
Southwest is urging all its customers to go to its website for more information, and is apologizing for the massive disruption.
CBS2’s Thalia Perez contributed to this report.