Southwest Airlines says it is "re-balancing" the airline by flying only a third of its scheduled flights Tuesday and again Wednesday.

The cancellations impacted 31 flights from Newark Monday, 17 on Tuesday but none so far for Wednesday.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey spokeswoman Alana Calmi told New Jersey 101.5 it would not be commenting on the situation at this time.

The pre-Christmas winter storm caused delayed and canceled flights across the country but Southwest's problems seemed to spiral out of control after the storm passed.

✈ Southwest cancelations across the country

Southwest canceled 2,909 flights on Monday, 2,481 flights for Tuesday as of 4:15 a.m. and another 2,474 for Wednesday, according to FlightAware.com.

The airline said that the rebalance is needed to best serve customers in the name of safety and will benefit travelers in the long run.

"This safety-first work is intentional, ongoing, and necessary to return to normal reliability, one that minimizes last-minute inconveniences. As we continue the work to recover our operation, we have made the decision to continue operating a reduced schedule by flying roughly one third of our schedule for the next several days," the airline said in a statement.

Travelers queue up to check in at the Southwest Airlines counter in Denver International Airport
Travelers queue up to check in at the Southwest Airlines counter in Denver International Airport (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
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✈ Challenges are 'unacceptable'

Southwest said it would "make things right for those we’ve let down, including our employees" and offered its apologies.

"With no concern higher than ultimate safety, the People of Southwest share a goal to take care of each and every Customer. We recognize falling short and sincerely apologize," the company said in a statement.

It could take more than an apology for the U.S. Department of Transportation to understand Southwest's issues.

"USDOT is concerned by Southwest’s unacceptable rate of cancellations and delays & reports of lack of prompt customer service. The Department will examine whether cancellations were controllable and if Southwest is complying with its customer service plan," the agency said in a statement on its Twitter account.

The tweet included a link to Southwest's customer service plan. It includes a commitment to notify customers of a delay, cancellation or diversion via an automated system within 30 minutes, making every effort to return luggage already loaded onto a plane within 24 hours of a change and providing prompt refunds.

Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dan.alexander@townsquaremedia.com

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