Another Major Airline Just Canceled 2,000 Flights—Here's Why
American Airlines canceled about 10 percent of its flights over a four-day period.
It was another tough weekend for airplane travelers. As a result of major challenges across the aviation industry, thousands more passengers were left stranded in airports across the country, flooding customer service channels and bottlenecking in terminals amid widespread frustration. One airline ended up canceling about 10 percent of its flights over a four-day period. Read on to find out more about what caused the latest round of air travel disruption.
American Airlines canceled more than 1,500 flights over Halloween weekend.
American Airlines canceled more than 1,500 flights over the Halloween weekend, starting on Friday. On Sunday alone, it canceled 1,058 flights, which amounted to approximately one in five of its originally scheduled flights for the day. But even as the work week started, the bleeding hadn't yet stopped: American canceled 250 more flights on Monday morning. Overall, the airline has canceled about 2,000 flights or about 10 percent of its total flight operations over the four-day period beginning Friday.
The carrier cited weather delays and staffing shortages for its flight schedule disruption.
The airline cited weather issues and staffing shortages for the severe disruption. "With additional weather throughout the system, our staffing begins to run tight as crew members end up out of their regular flight sequences," American said in a statement to CNN. The company said that two days of heavy winds in its hub of Dallas-Fort Worth caused big problems for arrival capacity. But that's just one piece of the puzzle.
Staffing shortages are a major problem throughout the airline industry.
Last month, Southwest Airlines also canceled about 2,000 flights in another major disruption, for which it also blamed weather, along with air traffic control issues. However, the problem of staffing shortage across the airline industry is well documented.
When the pandemic hit, airlines encouraged thousands of employees to take leave or accept buyouts in order to cut costs as demand for travel tanked. But demand for domestic travel returned swiftly and sharply, and airlines weren't prepared. In an unusual job market—where job seekers are being historically choosy, or dropping out of the workforce altogether—carriers are still struggling to staff up adequately to support their operations and avoid such widespread cancellations and delays.
American Airlines plans to staff up in the coming weeks.
American hopes the problems will ease in time for holiday travel. According to CNN, the airline expects more flight crews to return to work, explaining that 1,800 flight attendants will return from leave Monday and even more will return to work by Dec. 1. American also said that it's ramping up hiring in the fourth quarter.
Expect a hectic holiday travel season.
Still, experts say the holiday travel period might be more chaotic than ever—and they advise air travelers to bring their patience, as well as a plan for tackling any eventuality. Willis Orlando, senior product operations specialist at the insider-intel platform Scott's Cheap Flights, previously told Best Life that there are ways to get the best deal possible if your flight is oversold. Scott's Cheap Flights also offers guidance on what to do when your flight is canceled, so that you can make sure to get in the air as quickly as possible, and without paying heavily for the inconvenience.