DALLAS - The blame game is growing over Southwest Airlines' ongoing flight troubles.
Southwest Airlines has a lot of angry and frustrated customers after their weekend plans were affected by thousands of flight cancelations. And getting on another flight will not be easy.
Some have pointed to new COVID-19 vaccine mandates, bad weather, protests and old internal technology. So which is it?
Southwest Airlines maintains air traffic control problems and bad weather were to blame for the cancellations. But the pilot's union said the airline is deflecting and blames what the president calls an antiquated IT system.
The airline issued a statement Sunday night saying it was working to recover its operations, but that customer service wait times would be longer than usual.
There were some long lines Monday morning at Dallas Love Field, much longer than a typical Monday morning.
According to FlightAware.com, Southwest has already canceled 9% of its flights systemwide, which translates to about 325 flights.
FlightAware.com reported Southwest canceled more than 1,000 flights on Sunday alone and had 808 cancelations on Saturday.
"Haven’t seen our bags for two days. We’ve been in the same clothes for 48 hours," said Lorielle Dean, a traveler in Phoenix.
"A roller coaster. Okay, we made it. No, we didn’t. We made it. No, we didn’t. We’re trying to get from California to Florida. We made it to Arizona in two days," added Tim Stieren, another traveler in Phoenix.
One man FOX 4 spoke to had his flight to New York’s LaGuardia canceled. He was hoping to catch a later flight on Monday morning.
"At least I live here. So. if anything, I don’t have to go back to a hotel and wonder when I’m gonna get home. So, I can always go home if I have to go another day," Jason Lorance said.
"The problem is they are not updating anything. They are not updating to tell you, oh we have been canceled because of this, because of weather, because of mechanical problems, nothing," said Judy Mburu, who is from New Jersey.
Nearly 50% of the airline’s fleet was either delayed or canceled on Monday. In a statement released Monday afternoon, Southwest said many problems are due to out-of-place aircraft and a strain on resources.
Renee Acker’s original flight to Lubbock was Sunday, but it was canceled.
"Been trying to get home all day today because I had a 9 a.m. flight this morning," she said. It’s 5:10 in the afternoon and I’m still here."
Acker has thought about making the five-hour drive, but she can’t get a car.
Nichole Gambulos, a teacher from Garland, is stuck in Orlando after planning to fly home from Disney this weekend. The next available flight for her family is Wednesday.
"We tried Hertz , Alamo, National. Couldn’t find a rental car," she said.
After Texas-OU weekend, Russ Melchert resorted to renting a U-Haul to get home.
"Hopped in that and drove nine hours and got back to Kansas City last night," he said.
In a statement, the airline is placing the blame on air traffic control issues and disruptive weather.
However, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson is offering a different view from the airline, saying the air traffic control issues ended on Friday.
The union also speaking up.
"So continuing to blame weather, which apparently the whole summer had bad weather, blaming the pilots, blaming employees, blaming the FAA is really just deflection," said Southwest Airlines Pilots Association President Casey Murray.
He said the cancellation problem is due in large part to internal processes that includes an antiquated IT system, which can cause a domino effect.
About 71% of the pilots on Saturday were reassigned from their original schedule," Murray said. "That is an unbelievably high number. Sunday, it was 85%. That's not sustainable."
Bruce Rosenberg, the president of the travel technology company HotelPlanner, said continued widespread cancellations could erode consumer confidence, especially leading into the holiday season.
"My other advice is that if you're going to travel, it's good to be if you're going to connect purely definitely hub cities," he said. "Because airlines have more flexibility out of hub cities."
For those Southwest Airlines passengers currently stranded, many are choosing to book on another carrier or drive — no matter the cost.
Last week, the Southwest Airlines pilots’ association filed a motion to block the airline’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for pilots. But the association issued a statement over the weekend saying it had no connection to any of this weekend’s fight delays or cancelations.
In that same statement released by Southwest Sunday, the airline expressed appreciation for its customers’ patience. It did not specify how long it expected to have delays and cancelations.