SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — Southwest Airlines' pilot union asked a court on Friday to temporarily block the airline's COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
On Sunday, the airline canceled over 1,000 of its flights, blaming cancellations and delays on bad weather and air traffic control issues.
Either way, it's costing Southwest passengers big time. Customer Tracey Carrigan was returning home to Salt Lake City from Oakland, California, when her flight was canceled.
“I'm out the $400 for booking another flight,” she explained, after Southwest booking staff told her they could possibly compensate her for it, but couldn’t guarantee it. Her story is similar to countless other passengers traveling this weekend.
"They had just delayed my flight an hour, so I was like, 'alright, I will just put some earphones in and wait my hour,'” Carrigan said.
RELATED: Southwest Airlines cancels more than 1,000 weekend flights
One hour turned into many hours, and ultimately a cancelled trip. She said the Southwest staff initially told everyone on board her flight that they were dealing with technical difficulties.
“They got on and said the flight was now cancelled because the pilot had to clock out and that he was over his hours. Then we had no pilot," Carrigan explained.
Traveler Craig Griffin said he was supposed to fly back to California from Salt Lake City Saturday night.
“It’s a mess," he said. "I need to get back to work. I've got a lot to do down there so I'm just trying to be patient."
Like Carrigan, his original Southwest flight was delayed and ultimately cancelled.
The buzz online is that Southwest isn't dealing with weather or traffic control difficulties like the airline claims, but instead, employees are not showing up for work because of vaccine mandates.
“It wasn’t until the last five minutes when we were supposed to take off that all the sudden the pilot ran out of hours. But then I’m looking online while all of this is going on, and I find out that the pilots are on strike,” Carrigan said, reflecting on her experience.
It’s something passengers loyal to the airline want to get to the bottom of.
The Federal Aviation Administration said no staffing shortages have been reported since Friday, leaving the "why" to the situation still unclear.
2News continues to receive messages from Southwest customers in Utah impacted by this. Many of them are understandably frustrated with the chaos and confusion and hope Southwest will make it right.