United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby apologized for flying private the same week the airline canceled thousands of flights leaving customers stranded across the U.S.
“Taking a private jet was the wrong decision because it was insensitive to our customers who were waiting to get home," Kirby said in a statement shared with NBC News by the airline. "I sincerely apologize to our customers and our team members who have been working around-the-clock for several days -- often through severe weather -- to take care of our customers."
Kirby took the private jet from Teterboro, New Jersey, to Denver on Wednesday, the same day United Airlines canceled 750 flights, the Associated Press reported.
United has canceled almost 3,000 flights this week, most of them at Newark Liberty International Airport, the outlet reported.
“I promise to better demonstrate my respect for the dedication of our team members and the loyalty of our customers,” Kirby said.
Severe weather battered the East Coast this week, bringing thunderstorms resulting in thousands of flight delays and cancellations.
Newark, LaGuardia and JFK all warned on Twitter Tuesday that weather conditions were causing flight disruptions, delays and cancellations as they warned travelers to allow extra time and contact their airlines for updates.
But weather wasn't the only reason. The U.S. is facing an ongoing shortage of air traffic controllers. It’s an issue that Kirby highlighted in a letter to employees Monday, attributing the shortage to potentially more headaches in the coming weeks.
“I’m ... frustrated that the FAA frankly failed us this weekend,” Kirby said, adding that he estimated more than 150,000 United customers had experienced disruptions “because of FAA staffing issues and their ability to manage traffic.”
The troubles began last weekend, with nearly 2,000 U.S. flights canceled, according to FlightAware. Disruptions continued into Monday, when more than 11,000 U.S. flights were delayed or canceled. At least 7,300 were affected Tuesday.
By Wednesday, the delays and cancellations had begun to level off to about 2,000 U.S. flights, according to FlightAware.
United Airlines on Friday said there had been "meaningful improvement" across their operation "after a challenging week that started with bad weather on the East Coast that caused a major ripple effect throughout our system."
"We expect delays and cancellations to continue to decrease as we head into the busy holiday stretch," the airline tweeted.