Another Major Airline Is Cutting Flights for the Next 2 Months
Air travelers can expect a challenging holiday season ahead.
If you're planning to travel during the coming months, you're going to need to be prepared for a potentially stressful situation. That's not just because of the typical challenges that go along with moving through airports during the busy holiday season, but also because of the unique set of challenges wrought by COVID and its impact on the workforce. It's all combined to spell trouble for major airlines—and the passengers who depend on them—as carriers have had to eliminate flights from their schedules or face last-minute cancelations. Read on to find out about the latest airline making a significant change.
Alaska Airlines is cutting flights from its schedule.
Alaska Airlines announced it was cutting some of its flights between Wichita, Kansas, and Seattle, Washington in November and December. It usually flies between the cities every day, but will remove its Saturday service during these two months as well as its Tuesday service in December. "The reduction is due to labor shortages," according to an update posted on the website for the Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport. The airport did not elaborate on the cause of the schedule changes.
Labor shortage is a major problem across the airline industry.
It's not just Alaska Airlines. Southwest Airlines canceled about 2,000 flights earlier this month, stranding travelers and creating customer service chaos around the country. At the time, Southwest blamed such issues as weather for the outage. But staffing shortage across the airline industry have been widely reported.
American Airlines canceled about 400 flights in June due to staffing and maintenance issues, and Spirit Airlines canceled hundreds of flights in August, citing staffing issues in addition to weather and system outages.
Staffing issues go beyond major airlines.
When the pandemic slammed into the world economy, airlines encouraged thousands of employees to take leave or accept buyouts, as CNBC reported last year. But demand for travel roared back with unexpected swiftness, and now airlines are struggling to hire fast enough to get back up to speed with their staffing rosters.
Although canceled flights are a major headache for travelers, the problems caused by staffing shortages are not just limited to airlines. Many industries are struggling to hire at adequate levels, CNN Business reported, as record numbers of people are quitting their jobs or holding off on accepting new employment until it meets their revised expectations for wages, benefits, and flexibility amid ongoing concerns for workplace safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here's what to do if your flight is canceled, according to experts.
Experts predict a difficult holiday season for air travel. If your flight is canceled, be aggressive in seeking solutions, according to the travel pros at Scott's Cheap Flights. First, focus your attention on getting rebooked as soon as possible so you can get to your destination. Exhaust all your options: Wait in line in person, call customer service, use social media, and try the airline's app or chat platform.
See if your credit card covers travel interruption insurance to recoup on your hotel and food if you get stuck. Then, follow up until you get a satisfactory financial resolution: Pursue your airline's customer service, and you might find it offers you a voucher for future travel—even weeks after the incident.