American Airlines canceled more than 1,200 flights over Halloween weekend, citing bad weather conditions and staffing shortages.
On Friday, Oct. 29, the airlines canceled 376 flights, plus 537 flights on Saturday and more than 300 flights on Sunday, according to The Daily Mail. Most of these cancellations affected large American Airlines hubs like Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, plus Charlotte, Miami, and Phoenix airports.
The Daily Mail spoke to Captain Dennis Tajer, a spokesperson for the Allied Pilots Association, about the cancellations. Primarily, Tajer discussed how poor management combined with adverse weather conditions made for a problematic scenario. The outlet also asked Tajer about American Airlines’ vaccine mandate and whether that affected staff shortages, but he did not comment on it.
“As we look at management’s tracked reasons for cancellations, it confirms that there was a weather event but then, as has been during the summer, management failed to connect pilots and flight attendants to the airplanes many days after the storm passes,” Tajer said. “Mother nature generates a storm and management’s failure to properly schedule creates storms days after.”
He claimed that management showed no “interest” in finding a plausible solution to a problem that affected thousands of fliers.
“The mark of a great airline is not performing well on clear days. It’s how it recovers after the weather disrupts operations,” Tajer said. “For much too long, management is failing to meet the fundamentals of airline operations. And they aren’t showing any interest in joining us to find solutions.”
Apparently, the Dallas-Fort Worth airport did experience power outages and flight delays earlier on Wednesday and Thursday. Pilots had to deal with wind gusts up to 50 mph and sustained winds averaging 20 to 25 mph.
American Airlines Releases Statement About Halloween Weekend Cancellations
According to The Daily Mail, American Airlines released a statement about the hundreds of canceled flights. They claim to be working “proactively” by canceling certain flights so their scheduling can return to normal.
“With additional weather throughout the system, our staffing begins to run tight as crew members end up out of their regular flight sequences,” the statement reads. “To make sure we are taking care of our customers and providing scheduling certainty for our crews, we have adjusted our operation for the last few days this month by proactively canceling some flights.”
American Airlines added, “We are taking this measure to minimize any inconvenience as much as possible. Most of the customers impacted by these changes are being rebooked the same day, and we apologize for having to make these changes.”
The airline hopes it will “soon” be finished with this “period of irregular operations,” per The Daily Mail.
Part of the way the company wants to combat future issues like this is by increasing staffing. Luckily, almost 1,800 flight attendants will soon return from leave and 600 new flight attendants will join the ranks of American Airlines by the end of the year.
“Additionally, hiring for our airports is well underway,” American said in the statement. “And we anticipate 4,000 new team members joining us across the system in the fourth quarter.”