ISLIP, N.Y. - Ann Marie of East Moriches was one of the thousands impacted after Southwest Airlines canceled at least 1,800 flights over the weekend.
"My boss expected me in for work today," she said. "It was a problem."
But it was a problem that was out of her control. Delays and subsequent cancelations started Friday night and continued into Saturday and Sunday.
In a statement, the airline cited "weather challenges in Florida and unexpected air traffic control issues in the same region."
But federal regulators attributed service disruptions to airline staffing and other issues.
Southwest canceled more than a quarter of its flights on Sunday, according to the flight-tracking site FlightAware.
Eight Southwest flights come in and out of MacArthur Airport on Long Island on average daily. Airport officials reported eight cancellations Sunday and another two on Monday with minimal delays.
Budd Manias flew in from West Palm Beach in Florida for his daughter's wedding. He ultimately made it up in time but spent hours on hold to rebook.
"Our flight was canceled about three hours before we were supposed to leave," he said. "It was the worst travel experience I ever had and I've been traveling for a long time."
Ann Marie told FOX 5 NY she has realized among other things the need to pack her patience.
"It is what it is — especially when you travel today," she said.
Southwest on Monday afternoon issued an apology saying the airline hopes to return to a normal schedule as soon as possible.
Statement from Southwest
Southwest Airlines extends a tremendous apology to our Customers and Employees for the flight cancellations and delays which occurred over the weekend and on Monday.
On Friday evening, the airline ended the day with numerous cancellations, primarily created by weather and other external constraints, which left aircraft and Crews out of pre-planned positions to operate our schedule on Saturday. Unfortunately, the out-of-place aircraft and continued strain on our Crew resources created additional cancelations across our point-to-point network that cascaded throughout the weekend and into Monday.
While we do not have specific airport numbers to share, Southwest Teams have been working diligently to restore stability to the network, and we are experiencing less disruptions on Monday. We hope to restore our full schedule as soon as possible. As a note, the operational challenges were not a result of Southwest Employee demonstrations, as some outlets are reporting.
To every Customer that experienced a cancellation or delay, Southwest offers our sincerest regret regarding disrupted travel plans, and we look forward to a future opportunity to demonstrate our safe, reliable, friendly, and legendary Southwest Hospitality – something that Customers should always expect from Southwest Airlines.
If Customers require assistance from Southwest, they can utilize one of the airline's self-service options for convenience or Contact Us via one of the methods listed on southwest.com.