By CBS Baltimore Staff

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Southwest Airlines issued an apology Thursday for the thousands of flights it has canceled since last Friday, disrupting travel plans across the country.

“There’s a lot to say about what happened over the last several days, but we’ll start with the most important message: we’re sorry,” the airline tweeted.

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Attached was a letter from Southwest Airlines President & COO Mike Van de Ven. He said the disruption was initially created by weather and air traffic constraints in Florida.

Because of Southwest’s “point-to-point” flying system, 40-50% of Southwest’s planes fly through Florida each day, so the displacement to aircraft and crews reportedly kicked off an avalanche of issues.

“It took us several days to re-set our network after the initial challenges,” said Van de Ven.

The disruptions came shortly after the pilot’s union tried to block Southwest’s new COVID-19 vaccine mandate, spurring speculation that there was a sort of strike.

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Captain Cassey Murray, president of the Southwest pilots’ union, told CBS News the disruptions were not caused by pilots protesting the pending vaccine mandate.

Van de Ven waved off the rumors in his announcement as well.

“Despite widespread rumors and speculation, the weekend challenges were not a result of unusual Southwest Employee activity, and there simply is nothing in our data that indicates that particular reason,” he said.

BWI was no exception to Southwest’s impact. Dozens of customers were stranded at the airport Sunday from last-minute cancellations.

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CBS Baltimore Staff