Airline schedules seemingly getting back on track after carriers cancel thousands of weekend US flights

Airlines canceled more than 3,500 US flights over the weekend and delayed thousands more, citing weather in Florida and other issues. The issues were winding down early Monday, with almost 450 domestic flights scrapped, according to FlightAware, a website that tracks flights.

It noted major disruptions at several Florida airports, including in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa and Orlando, as well as Baltimore, New York and other airports around the country. JetBlue, Southwest, Alaska Airlines, Frontier, Spirit and American Airlines were most affected, according to FlightAware, with JetBlue and Spirit canceling one-third of Sunday’s scheduled flights. Local news reported storms in Florida on Saturday. Several airlines said Sunday that operations were returning to normal.

The spate of cancellations arrived as air travel is rebounding from the pandemic, with strong demand for spring break flights. People on social media complained about waiting on hold or in lines for hours to get their canceled flights rescheduled and of being stranded for days.

“Severe weather in the Southeast and multiple air traffic control delay programs have created significant impacts on the industry,” a JetBlue spokesperson said in an email. “Today’s (Sunday’s) cancellations will help us reset our operation and safely move our crews and aircraft back into position.”

Southwest Airlines also cited “weather and airspace congestion” Saturday in Florida, as well as a “technology issue.” It canceled about 1,000 flights over the weekend but said that as of 1 pm Eastern, it had no more cancellations on Sunday.

American said Florida weather Saturday affected its operations, and it was recovering Sunday.

Alaska Airlines seemed to be dealing with a separate issue. The airline said Sunday that weekend flight cancellations that began Friday had affected more than 37,000 customers and further cancellations were possible. The airline declined to say why it canceled flights but referred in its statement to contract negotiations with its pilots. Off-duty pilots picketed in several US cities Friday over stalled negotiations. They have been without a new contract for three years.

“Alaska Airlines failed to properly plan for increased travel demand and take the steps necessary to ensure it attracted and retained pilots,” the pilots union said in a Friday press release.

As of 4:30 am EDT Monday, the carrier had canceled 36 of its flights for the day, which amounted to 4%, according to FlightAware..

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