Delta Air Lines said Thursday it is reducing the number of flights it runs per day in order to keep up with COVID-19 staffing shortages, extreme weather and busy skies.
Between July 1 and August 7, flights in primarily the U.S. and Latin markets will be reduced by 100. The airline is already working to thin its schedule in anticipation for the busy holiday travel weekend. At least 3 million are flying over the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, according to AAA, which is near pre-COVID levels.
Delta said it’s experiencing what a lot of Americans now understand: getting back to full strength after COVID-19 is tough. From CNN:
The airline cited rising demand and the challenges of “rebuilding Delta’s full-scale operation” in its announcement of cuts to its daily departures between July 1 and August 7, which will primarily affect markets in the US and Latin America.
Delta said it would continue to adjust its schedule in the coming weeks.
“More than any time in our history, the various factors currently impacting our operation — weather and air traffic control, vendor staffing, increased Covid case rates contributing to higher-than-planned unscheduled absences in some work groups — are resulting in an operation that isn’t consistently up to the standards Delta has set for the industry in recent years,” said Allison Ausband, chief customer experience officer, in a statement.
Flight delays through the American tourist mecca of Florida have been a headache for airlines for months due to extreme weather, air traffic control staffing shortages, and private jet and space flights. Delta isn’t alone in cutting down on flights this summer either, as noted by CNN. JetBlue and Alaskan Airlines are also cutting flights at least at the beginning of the summer. With COVID-19 rates back on the rise, delays and headaches at the airport are all but guaranteed.
It’s getting harder and harder for the average American to take a break. While there is still plenty of pent-up demand for travel left over by the COVID-19 lockdowns, ticket prices were already up before airlines started slashing flights one expert told CNN. And while gas prices are currently stable, they’re still high. Historic inflation isn’t helping either.
Man, we could all really use a vacation at this point.