These 2 Major Airlines Are Canceling Hundreds of Flights Over This
This weekend's round of flight cancellations stranded passengers.
One of the major shifts of the COVID-19 pandemic was a huge decline in air travel, as most of us adhered to stay-at-home orders during quarantine. The introduction of effective vaccines and boosters, however, has again made it possible to fly to visit family, take a relaxing vacation, or explore somewhere new—even if some airlines are struggling to keep up with demand. With more people flying than ever, two airlines are facing serious setbacks. Read on to learn which carriers just canceled hundreds of flights.
JetBlue and Spirit spirit canceled hundreds of flights over the weekend.
A combination of bad weather in Florida and staffing issues left JetBlue Airways and Spirit Airlines forced to cancel hundreds of flights, USA Today reported. JetBlue told The Points Guy that this weekend, they were dealing with air traffic delays on the East Coast. The airline further said they needed to "get our operation back on track," as last weekend was also filled with delays, while preparing recovery options in anticipation of "April weather events."
Over the course of the weekend, a total of 296 flights were canceled by both airlines on Sunday, accounting for 13 percent of JetBlue's total flights and 17 percent of Spirit's total, data from flight tracker FlightAware shows. On Saturday, those ratios were even higher. The airlines canceled a combined total of 300 flights, with JetBlue canceling a whopping 18 percent of total flights and Spirit canceling 14 percent, according to USA Today. Delays were also rampant—46 percent of JetBlue's flights and 32 percent of Spirt's flights were delayed on Sunday.
JetBlue said it will continue to cut flights this spring and summer.
As reported by CNBC, a memo was sent to JetBlue staff on Sunday by JetBlue's chief operating officer and president, Joanna Geraghty. In the email, which was obtained by CNBC, Geraghty said, "We've already reduced May capacity 8-10% and you can expect to see a similar size capacity pull for the remainder of the summer."
Geraghty commended JetBlue employees for their dedication and added that even with the hiring of 2,500 workers this year, the staffing shortage persists. With the anticipated summer surge in travel, airlines are attempting to keep up with demand, prompting JetBlue's decision to cut back.
"Despite these changes, and based on your feedback that the schedule is wound too tight, we know the best plan is to reduce capacity now," Geraghty said in the memo, per CNBC. "I think everyone recognizes that the industry still remains very much in recovery mode, so we believe this proactive step is the right decision."
Speaking with USA Today, Spirit spokesperson Eric Hofmeyer referenced similar issues. According to Hofmeyer, Spirit is recovering from the bad weather in Florida and Air Traffic Control (ATC) issues dating back to Thursday and Friday of last week.
JetBlue and Spirit aren't the only airlines dealing with these problems.
Alaska Airlines has experienced similar issues with cancellations and delays, nixing 6 percent of its flights this past weekend, The Points Guy reported. Last week, the airline sent out an apology to customers after it canceled "an unusual number of flights" earlier in April.
"To all of you who were impacted, we are deeply sorry. We put you in a frustrating situation—most likely when you were looking to take a fun trip, family vacation, or needed to get somewhere important to you," the airline said in its statement. "We must do better. Over the last few days, we looked at how we got here, and are taking action to get back on track. We're committed to being the airline you love."
The cancellations were due to pilot shortages, the airline said, as nearly 10,000 pilots left the industry during the COVID pandemic. While waiting for new pilots to graduate from training, Alaska will cancel 2 percent of total flights through the end of June. The carrier reassured customers that they "are through the worst of the cancellations," and in an April 7 tweet said they are enacting "immediate changes to ensure guests can count on us to get them where they want to go."
Experts recommend being prepared for ongoing flight delays and cancellations.
If you've got travel plans on the docket, you'll want to take precautions before you load your luggage and head out. According to The Points Guy, Boston Logan Airport (which is a hub for JetBlue) was significantly impacted over the weekend. The airport even issued a warning on Twitter, encouraging travelers to check in with their airline before venturing out due to the delays and cancellations.
In the event that your flight is canceled by the airline, or if the airline made a significant schedule change or delay, you are entitled to a refund (not just a flight credit), according to U.S. Department of Transportation regulations. Unfortunately, this does not apply to those additional travel expenses, like your hotel, food, or other methods of transportation. Before you fly, be prepared and track your flights to avoid having to shell out extra cash.