The Halloween weekend was horrifying for those hoping to fly with American Airlines. The airline canceled more than 1,000 flights over the weekend citing staff shortages and weather conditions. However, it appears that the horror show will continue for hopeful travelers. As of early this morning, American has canceled more than 200 additional flights.
The reality is that American Airlines wasn’t ready for the current uptick in travel. During the early days of the pandemic, few people were on planes. As a result, they couldn’t afford to retain their entire staff. So, the airline laid off or furloughed thousands of workers. Additionally, some staff members opted for early retirement, according to Daily Mail. Now that things are going back to normal and Americans are open to the idea of traveling again, the airline is understaffed.
American Airlines execs hoped that getting their former employees back would be easy. Unfortunately for them and thousands of travelers, this was not the case. Now, the airline is painfully understaffed and everyone who hopes to book a flight with them is feeling the pinch.
The executive vice president of the global airlines relation division of Internova Travel Group, Peter Vlitas, talked about the current staff shortage. He noted that American Airlines wasn’t the only provider that was spread too thin right now. “With travel rebounding at a much faster pace than expected, the entire industry is facing service shortages,” he said. Additionally, he said that they aren’t just lacking employees. Airlines are also short on “material goods” needed to meet travel demands.
That’s not the only issue, though. American, as well as other airlines, are facing serious weather delays. Vlitas mentioned this as well. He said that the airlines’ shortages combined with Mother Nature’s ire are “a perfect storm,” for the industry.
More Delays Coming for American Airlines
American Airlines hopes to hire thousands of new pilots, support staff, and flight attendants. However, that will be easier said than done. The job market is highly competitive right now, so they’ll have to win employees from other airlines. Furthermore, there is a shortage of instructors and flight simulators. So, training pilots will be hard. Delays and cancelations will continue until they’re fully staffed again.
Staffing is only half of the problem, though. Strong wind gusts at the Dallas-Fort Worth hub have grounded several planes. As a result, many American Airlines employees are unable to reach their destinations to work. Many of those employees are still on the clock while they wait and, before they can get out of DFW, go over the number of hours their legally allowed to work, so they have to clock out.
Because so many workers are stuck at DFW, the delays ripple throughout the airline’s entire operation. It might be a good time to consider taking a road trip this holiday season instead of flying.