Southwest Airlines cancelled over 2,800 flights, or 70% of its scheduled flights, on the day after Christmas, frustrating passengers across the country.
And, as it works to recover from the winter weather, the company plans to cut flights by one-third, the company said Monday.
“Our heartfelt apologies for this are just getting started,” Southwest said in a statement Monday.
Bags were piled up in photos and videos shared on social media, and federal transportation officials called the cancellations unacceptable.
“I’m furious as hell because I see mismanagement,” Ihore Konrad told NBC Chicago. According to the station, he had been stuck at the airport for two days due to cancellations.
According to the flight-tracking website FlightAware, approximately 3,900 flights were cancelled within, into, or out of the United States on Monday.
According to the site, Southwest had 2,893 flights cancelled at one point Monday, accounting for roughly 70% of its scheduled flights. Delta had around 300 and United had around 130.
Southwest attributed the outage to “operational challenges” caused by days of severe winter weather across the majority of the country.
And the problems at Southwest are far from over. The airline plans to fly one-third of its schedule — or approximately 1,500 flights — for the next “several days” in order to reposition flight crews who are out of position, according to the company.
“On the other side of this, we’ll work to make things right for those we’ve let down, including our employees,” the company said in a statement.
Bags piled up at Denver International Airport and Chicago’s Midway Airport on Monday, according to video. Southwest stated that it was inundated with calls and messages and asked for patience.
Southwest CEO Bob Jordan also told The Wall Street Journal that the company will operate at slightly more than one-third of its normal schedule on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“We had a difficult day today. “We’re going to have another tough day tomorrow as we work our way out of this,” Jordan told the newspaper.
Going into the holiday weekend, much of the continental United States, at one point covering more than 200 million people, was under winter weather warnings or alerts, with bitterly cold temperatures and ice.