Listen Live

No relief is in sight for stranded passengers who booked travel on Southwest, as the airline continued to cancel thousands of flights in the wake of a holiday travel disaster.

>> Read more trending news

Southwest canceled 2,509 flights on Wednesday, accounting for more than 60% of all airline cancelations, according to FlightAware. By Wednesday afternoon, the airline had also canceled 2,348 flights scheduled for Thursday and an additional 270 scheduled for Friday.

Passengers booked for travel on the airline have been stranded at airports across the United States, and have struggled to rent cars or find seats on other airlines.

“I give up,” Adontis Barber, who has been camped out in the airport in Kansas City, Missouri, since Saturday, told The Associated Press. “I’m starting to feel homeless.”

Southwest has canceled approximately 15,700 flights since a winter storm began disrupting air travel on Dec. 22, according to CNN.

While other airlines have rebounded from delays and cancellations caused by the winter storm, Southwest has struggled to get its passengers where they need to go.

“I’m not mad at them,” Tearsa Aisani Parham, who was waiting at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, told The New York Times. “I’m mad at the way they did it.”

In a video posted to the airline’s website on Tuesday, Southwest CEO Robert Jordan offered an apology for the situation. “Our network is highly complex and the operation of the airline counts on all the pieces, especially aircraft and crews remaining in motion to where they’re planned to go,” Jordan said. “With our large fleet of airplanes and flight crews out of position in dozens of locations. And after days of trying to operate as much of our full schedule across the busy holiday weekend, we reached a decision point to significantly reduce our flying to catch up.”

‘I’m truly sorry’: Southwest CEO offers apology after thousands of cancellations

Southwest’s vice president for ground operations declared a “state of operational emergency” in response to an “unusually high number of absences” among ramp employees in Denver, according to a memo dated Dec. 21, obtained by The Washington Post. “We have an obligation to our Customers and to our fellow Employees to safely and efficiently run our operation,” Johnson said in the memo, according to The Post. In the memo, Jordan said employees who called out sick would need to provide a doctor’s note or risk being fired.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has called the situation unacceptable, telling CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, “Their system really has completely melted down. … I made it clear that our department will be holding them accountable for their responsibilities to customers, both to get them through this situation and to make sure that this can’t happen again.”

Buttigieg noted that while cancellations across the airline industry account for approximately 4% of scheduled flights, they remained above 60% at Southwest, the AP reported.

In a statement Tuesday, Sen. Maria Cantwell, chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, said, “The problems at Southwest Airlines over the last several days go beyond weather. The Committee will be looking into the causes of these disruptions and its impact to consumers.”

Some have also pointed to the technology used by Southwest as contributing to the issue. Leaders of Southwest’s labor unions told the AP that the airline’s crew-scheduling system dates to the 1990s and is inadequate.

“We don’t have the normal hub the other major airlines do,” Capt. Mike Santoro, the vice president of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, told CNN. “We fly a point-to-point network, which can put our crews in the wrong places, without airplanes. … It’s frustrating for the pilots, the flight attendants and especially our passengers. We are tired of apologizing for Southwest, the pilots in the airline, our hearts go out to all of the passengers, they really do.”