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Southwest flight cancellations leave St. Louis flyers frustrated

As of Monday morning, more than 20 Southwest flights in or out of Lambert were delayed or canceled

ST. LOUIS — Southwest Airlines continued canceling hundreds of additional flights Monday following a weekend of massive service disruptions across the country, including St. Louis.

On Sunday, St. Louis Lambert International Airport saw more than 30 Southwest flight cancellations. As of Monday morning, more than 20 flights in and out of Lambert were either canceled or delayed.

According to Flightaware, the carrier has canceled 348 flights Monday and delayed another 271 flights nationwide, the Associated Press reported, as of 8 a.m. Eastern.

RELATED: After canceling more than 1,000 weekend flights, Southwest issues continue Monday

The Dallas-based airline had blamed air traffic control issues and weather for its weekend "operational challenges" that saw over 1,000 canceled flights on Sunday alone. Southwest Airlines was the only airline to report the issues on that scale.

5 On Your Side spoke to Cassie Marshall on Sunday. Her family flew in from Tulsa and were then headed to Orlando for a Disney vacation when their flight was canceled.

"We're dealing with it, we do have family in the Farmington area so we didn't really have to pay for a hotel," Marshall said. "So we got to stay with family, but our kids have lost about a day and a half of a Disney vacation. So it's a little frustrating, a little sad."

The union representing Southwest pilots said in a Sunday statement that its members were not participating in any "work slowdowns or sickouts either related to the recent mandatory vaccine mandate or otherwise." 

Southwest was one of several airlines to announce last week it will require all workers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus or potentially lose their jobs. That mandate does not go into effect until Dec. 8.

"SWA has claimed that the immediate causes of this weekend’s meltdown were staffing at Jacksonville Center and weather in the southeast U.S., but what was a minor temporary event for other carriers devastated Southwest Airlines because our operation has become brittle and subject to massive failures under the slightest pressure," the SWAPA statement said.  

The statement continued, saying "SWAPA has grave concerns about the direction Southwest Airlines has taken in putting profits ahead of people. Enough is enough. We need leadership, not apologies." 

Late Monday afternoon, Southwest Airlines officials posted the below statement on their website:

"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.

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.

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."

5 On Your Side has reached out to St. Louis Lambert airport for comment.