It seems that some airlines just can’t seem to get their operations together. American Airlines has canceled a huge number of flights in short time for the third time this year, causing chaos as travelers got stranded at various airports.
American Airlines, along with Spirit, Southwest and SkyWest has had a rough year when it comes to keeping operations running smoothly. Each of those airlines have canceled thousands of flights, stranding passengers all over the country. Some of those passengers had to find creative ways just to get home. Things have been particularly turbulent for American, which just canceled more than 2,300 flights between the weekend and Monday, reports the Wall Street Journal.
The airline canceled more than 1,900 flights through the weekend and as Aviation Pros reports, it canceled an additional 420 flights by Monday evening. This time, the airline cites a staffing shortage for its cancelations in addition to high winds at its Dallas hub reducing its arrival capacity by more than half.
Back in June, American started canceling hundreds of flights, citing a labor shortage as the cause for many of the cancelations. American was one of the many companies to furlough workers during the pandemic and it is still trying to hire enough people to cover America’s travel demands. The carrier then cited bad weather and maintenance for other cancelations. American Airlines trimmed down its schedule through July, hoping to ease the pain, but it still ended up canceling a ton of flights at once in August, anyway.
The staffing shortage doesn’t appear to be limited to just flight attendants and pilots. Videos on social media show stranded passengers unable to pick up baggage and terrifyingly long lines due to American’s staffing issues, travel blog View From The Wing reports.
These cancelations add up to just a fraction of the airline’s schedule, but travelers are still understandably pissed. But they’re taking it out on the wrong people. In one instance, a video shows passengers scolding American staff at a counter before the staff appear to say that they will call the police.
The Association of Professional Flight Attendants, a union representing about 24,000 flight attendants, released a statement about the cancelations, from Aviation Pros:
“Flight Attendant staffing at American remain strained and reflects what is happening across the industry as we continue to deal with pandemic-related issues.”
“Flight attendant schedules are being disrupted to protect the operation to help our customers make it to their destinations.”
Things appear to be getting back to normal with the airline canceling relatively few flights today.
According to the International Air Transport Association, air travel demand is going up, but it’s still far below pre-pandemic levels. Demand is expected to increase even further for the holidays. American is hoping to restore order to its operations with the return of 1,800 flight attendants from leave, with more coming back in December. Meanwhile, the airline expects to hire 4,000 employees in the fourth quarter.