Spring break strandings: Storms, tech issues disrupt thousands of flights nationwide

Airlines canceled more than 3,500 U.S. flights this weekend and delayed thousands, leaving some spring breakers’ travel plans up in the air.

>> Read more trending news

More than 13,000 total flights were disrupted Saturday and Sunday, with carriers citing Florida storms and a technology issue at Southwest Airlines for the lion’s share of the interference, USA Today reported.

As of 6 p.m. EDT Sunday, 3,515 U.S. flights had been canceled and nearly 10,000 flights had been delayed during the two-day span, according to flight tracker FlightAware,

The flight disruptions come not only during the busy spring break travel season but also as many COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have been lifted, fueling a massive surge in travel reservations, USA Today reported.

According to FlightAware data, major disruptions were detected at several Florida airports, including those in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, as well as in Baltimore and other national hubs.

And while several airlines indicated that flights were returning to normal late Sunday, JetBlue, Southwest, Alaska Airlines, Frontier, Spirit and American Airlines were most affected, the data indicated.

“Severe weather in the Southeast and multiple air traffic control delay programs have created significant impacts on the industry. Today’s cancellations will help us reset our operation and safely move our crews and aircraft back in to position,” a JetBlue spokesperson told The Associated Press in an email.

Southwest, the nation’s largest domestic carrier, was the hardest hit in terms of the number of flights affected, with 520 takeoffs, or roughly 14%, canceled Saturday and 398 Sunday flights scuttled, USA Today reported.

>> Related: Southwest Airlines system restored: Carrier blames tech issues for nationwide delays, cancellations

Meanwhile, budget carrier Spirit, which is headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, canceled 27% of its Saturday flights and was on track to exceed that figure for Sunday, according to FlightAware data.

By contrast, JetBlue canceled 15% of its Saturday flights and 25% of its Sunday flights, while American Airlines canceled 364 Saturday flights and 211 Sunday flights, the tracker’s data indicated.

-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.