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Slew of flight cancellations, delays hit SFO, OAK airports

Thousands of airline passengers are scrambling after a slew of flight delays and cancellations disrupted their spring break travel plans over the weekend.

The flight-tracking site FlightAware reports that as of Sunday morning, a total of 3,410 flights were canceled and 8,851 flights were delayed nationwide. Of those disruptions, 33 cancellations and 215 delays were domestic flights into or out of San Francisco, and 17 cancellations and 101 delays were into or out of Oakland, resulting in missed weddings, baseball games and trips to Disney World, not to mention lengthy wait times as frazzled travelers attempted to reach customer service.

“Yesterday was our biggest impact day,” said Bob Rotiski, an airport duty manager at San Francisco International Airport. “This weekend was busy, which is great to see, but also we saw a lot of kids on their spring break from school and noticed some very frantic chaperones getting them all checked in.”[ads1];

He estimated that roughly 58,000 passengers were traveling through the airport over the weekend and observed plenty of long lines, but he attributed them to high travel demand as COVID-19 case rates decrease and people feel safer flying.

“It’s a peak travel period, but the airlines are doing a good job of getting the word out and getting people through as quickly as possible,” Rotiski said.

Southwest Airlines was hit the hardest over the weekend, according to FlightAware’s data, which reported that 986 flights were canceled and 2,303 flights were delayed across the country. Most of those flights were coming out of Orlando, Miami and Tampa, where the airline said “ongoing weather challenges” were “impacting multiple areas within our system,” leaving it with no choice but to halt its service early Saturday morning as it “worked. to resolve an intermittent technology issue, ”according to a statement on its website.

The National Weather Service enacted a severe thunderstorm watch and a dense fog advisory over the weekend.

“We offer our heartfelt apologies for any inconvenience, and we will continue to work with customers who experience a disruption in their travel plans,” the airline said.

Passengers attempting to board flights Saturday and Sunday were given the option of rebooking a new flight within 14 days of their original departure date without paying an additional charge. Those with canceled flights were also told they could request a refund.

It’s not the first time Southwest has put a damper on its passengers’ travel plans. Last October, thousands of flights were canceled and delayed, reportedly because of weather-related challenges that began at its Florida airports, which were later exacerbated by unexpected air traffic control issues in the same region.

Other airlines, including Spirit Airlines, American Airlines and JetBlue, also reported significant cancellations and delays over the busy spring break weekend.

“Over the past several days, severe weather in the southeast and multiple air traffic control delay programs have created significant impacts on the industry,” a spokesperson for JetBlue said in a statement. “We have unfortunately had to cancel flights this weekend, and today’s cancellations will help us reset our operation and safely move our crews and aircraft back in to position. We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience and we are working to get them on their way as quickly as possible. ”

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