It was a tough weekend for airline passengers.
Airlines canceled and postponed more than 10,000 flights on Saturday and Sunday due to the storms Florida And a technical issue at Southwest Airlines that is stranding travelers across the country and creating long wait times to get to airline customer service. More than 3,200 flights have been canceled and 7,000 delayed this weekend, according to flight tracking FlightAware.
The flying problems come during the busy spring break travel season and at a time of increased travel due to pent-up demand from the pandemic.
Southwest, the country’s largest domestic airline, was the hardest hit in terms of number of flights. The airline canceled 520 flights on Saturday, or 14% of its operations, and 396 flights on Sunday.
In addition to the weather, Southwest said it had intermittent technical issues early Saturday that hurt the airline.
Southwest, the country’s largest domestic airline, said earlier that about 40% to 50% of its planes fly through Florida on any given day.
Budget airline Spirit, which has its headquarters and largest hub in Fort Lauderdale, had the highest number of cancellations this weekend. The airline canceled 27% of its flights on Saturday and so far has canceled 24% of its flights on Sunday, according to FlightAware.
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JetBlue Airways canceled 25% of its flights on Sunday after canceling 15% of its flights on Saturday, according to FlightAware.
American Airlines canceled 364 flights on Saturday and 211 on Sunday.
US spokesman Yamlik Murillo said the airline is still recovering from the impact of Florida’s storms.
Passengers on all airlines should check the status of their flights before heading to the airport on Sunday.
Do I get a refund if my flight is cancelled?
Passengers whose flights have been canceled by the airline are entitled to a refund and not just a travel credit, regardless of the reason for the flight.
However, the problem for many travelers in these situations is that they still need to get home or to their destination and the refund won’t cover expensive last minute flights on other airlines. In these cases, the only option is to accept the next available flight offered by the airline, even if it is not on the same day.
‘It’s been a day’: A Southwest traveler rushes to find a new flight
Texas attorney Erin Chancellor was scheduled to fly from Austin to Greenville, South Carolina, early Sunday for a business conference in Asheville, North Carolina.
Late on Saturday, she received a text alert about a flight change. The chancellor winced when she saw the 5:15 a.m. departure, an hour earlier than the original departure time, and a late arrival due to a five-hour layover.
This wasn’t the worst part.
The new flight set up by Southwest was for Monday.
“I was like, ‘Oh, that’s definitely not going to work,'” she said. “The big day (at the conference) is tomorrow.”
The advisor, who is Southwest’s highest-ranking frequent flyer, spent 90 minutes waiting with Southwest’s priority customer service line before hanging up on Twitter.
Southwest didn’t have any available flight options that would take her anywhere near Asheville late Sunday, so she asked for a refund of her $350 ticket and started looking for tickets on other airlines.
Best You Can Find: $650 round-trip on Delta Air Lines to Atlanta. She spends several hours from her 37th birthday driving to Asheville. She got one of the last rental cars available in Atlanta, but the price was steep: $600, double the price she would have paid for a car outside of Greenville.
“It was a day,” she said.
Know your rightsHere’s what airlines owe you if your flight is canceled or delayed
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