Airlines have canceled nearly 3,500 flights in the United States this weekend, and hundreds more have been delayed, citing weather in Florida and other factors.
Major delays were reported at numerous Florida airports, including Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa, and Orlando, as well as Baltimore, New York, and other airports around the country, according to FlightAware, a flight tracking website. According to FlightAware, JetBlue, Southwest, Alaska Airlines, Frontier, Spirit, and American Airlines were the most affected, with JetBlue and Spirit canceling a third of Sunday’s scheduled flights. Storms were reported in Florida on Saturday, according to local news. Several airlines reported that operations have returned to normal on Sunday.
The cancellations came as air transport was beginning to recover after the pandemic, with high demand for spring-break trips. People on social media complained about being delayed for days after their flights were canceled and they had to wait on hold or in lines for hours to get them rescheduled.
In an email, a JetBlue representative said, “Severe weather in the Southeast and several air traffic control delay initiatives have had substantial impacts on the industry.” “Today’s cancellations will assist us in resetting our operation and safely repositioning our employees and aircraft.”
Southwest Airlines claimed “weather and airspace congestion” as well as a “technical issue” in Florida on Saturday. It canceled around 1,000 flights throughout the weekend but said there will be no further cancellations on Sunday as of 1 p.m. Eastern.
The weather in Florida hampered American’s operations on Saturday, and the company said it was recovering today.
Alaska Airlines seems to be having its own problems. Additional than 37,000 customers have been affected by weekend flight cancellations since Friday, according to the airline, and more cancellations are possible. The airline didn’t disclose why the flights were canceled, but it did note in a statement that it was due to contract disputes with its pilots. Off-duty pilots demonstrated in a number of US locations on Friday in protest of delayed negotiations. For the past three years, they have been without a new contract.
In a Friday press statement, the pilots union stated, “Alaska Airlines failed to properly plan for growing travel demand and take the actions necessary to ensure it recruited and kept pilots.”