SAN FRANCISCO (BCN/CBS SF) — A total of 28 Southwest Airlines’ flights have been canceled so far Monday at the Bay Area’s three major airports, extending the large number of flight cancellations this past weekend, officials said.
Nine departures and nine arrivals were canceled at Oakland International Airport, while four departures and five arrivals have been canceled at Mineta San Jose International Airport.READ MORE: San Francisco Reverses Ban On Collecting Data On Sexual Orientation Of City Workers
“Our first flight got canceled yesterday morning, we rebooked to a later flight and then that got delayed for 7 hours and then got on the plane and then at that moment after everyone was seated, they canceled the flight. Trying to get on a flight today – we’ll see if that works or not,” said Trent McKay, who was trying to get home from Hawaii back to Denver.
McKay and his friend James Shake paid $140 for a hotel room in Oakland Sunday night. Monday afternoon, they were dubious about their odds of making it home.
“Every 30 minutes or so it keeps getting bumped back another 10, 20 minutes – it’s kinda the same thing that was happening yesterday, so just crossing fingers,” Shake told KPIX 5.
Though one Southwest flight at San Francisco International Airport was canceled. That was an inbound flight from Burbank.
It was a rough weekend for hundreds of passengers flying Southwest, which blamed the delays and cancellations on weather and air traffic control issues.
Traveler Tai Tran shared a photo showing a chaotic scene in Las Vegas over the weekend. He said there was a 6-hour, in-person wait to get help and very few alternative flights available. Tran had to drive to Los Angeles and find a flight back to the Bay Area.
KPIX chief meteorologist Paul Heggen’s flight was also canceled. He tweeted a photo of an error message on the Southwest app, and faced a two-hour wait time for customer service.
Flight canceled, I get this on the app, and there’s a two-hour wait on the customer service line. When will I fly Southwest again? The heat death of the Universe will happen first. pic.twitter.com/nrMMUxcSiw
— Paul Heggen (@PaulKPIX) October 11, 2021
“My daughter and my son was nervous – they said you’re going to get stuck at the airport,” said traveler Esperanza Rodriguez at SFO.
She and her husband are hoping to make it home to Las Vegas Sunday night. Their flight was already delayed twice.READ MORE: Fmr. SF Public Utilities Commission GM Harlan Kelly Charged With Bank Fraud In Bribery, Corruption Scandal
“We heard about it Friday and Saturday, and Sunday, we have no idea what’s going to happen,” said Romeo Rodriguez.
“Just delayed a little over an hour, so it’s not bad, tomorrow’s a holiday for me personally, so it’s also no rush to get home,” said Steven Wang, a traveler at SFO headed for Las Vegas. “But it’s probably uneasy for some people.”
The airline canceled more than 1,000 flights, or about a third of its schedule as of Sunday evening, according to flight tracker Flight Aware. That’s the highest rate by far of the major U.S. airlines.
In a statement to KPIX 5 Sunday, Southwest Airlines said:
We 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.
We’re working diligently to accommodate our Customers as quickly as possible, and we are grateful for their patience. We’re offering Customers added flexibility to explore self-service rebooking options on Southwest.com, where they can get updates on the status of their travel. We know the frustration flight cancellations are creating for our Customers and Employees and we apologize, and we again thank everyone for patience as we work first to be safe, and second to be as quick as possible in solving disrupted plans.
The Federal Aviation Administration refuted the airline’s claims about air traffic control issues.
“No FAA air traffic staffing shortages have been reported since Friday,” the FAA said. “Some airlines continue to experience scheduling challenges due to aircraft and crews being out of place. Please contact the airlines for details about current flight schedules.”
Southwest’s pilot union is denying the delays and cancellations are a result of a sickout or protest. On Friday, it had asked a court to temporarily block the airline’s COVID vaccine mandate.
Betty Yu and Andria Borba contributed to this report.MORE NEWS: California Drought: Gov. Newsom Declares Expanded Drought Emergency, Calls For Statewide Conservation
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