Whilst the travel industry has shown impressive signs of rebounding, it should also be noted that it isn’t out of the woods completely. More travelers may be flying now than at any other time over the pandemic, but airlines are reeling from the effects of a reduced workforce and a lack of pilots.
As a result of these shortages across the US, thousands of flights have been cancelled or delayed, leaving the travel plans of thousands in limbo. Here’s what you should know about the latest blight affecting travel in the US.
What Has Caused The Cancellations?
With airlines spending the majority of the past 15 months or so operating on reduced schedules and vastly reduced passenger numbers, like with many businesses during the pandemic sacrifices had to be made. Between United and American Airlines alone, as many as 32,000 employees were furloughed in one fell swoop after federal government financial aid ran out and was not extended.
From service staff to flight crew, the cuts affected everyone in the aviation industry. American Airlines got rid of as many as 1,200 of its 15,000 pilots – a move that the airline is desperately trying to remedy. With so few pilots left to operate their aircraft, the result has been cancellations and delays – and lots of them.
Thousands of Cancellations – What Travelers Should Know
Over a busy Father’s Day weekend in the US, thousands of travelers fell victim to more than 400 flight cancellations as a result of pilot shortages, staff sickness and maintenance issues. Coming off the back of the worst year in history for US airlines – with $35 billion lost as a result of the pandemic – it was news that just as unwelcome for the airlines themselves as it was for the travel-starved passengers.
One airline, in particular, that struggled was American Airlines. Sunday saw a total of 188 flights cancelled by American, which represented 6% of the total flights offered by the airline that day, but worryingly it accounted for more than half of all cancellations on flights to, from or in the USA. A further one in four of the flights offered by American were delayed. A silver lining for passengers would be the refund policies in place; passengers who have their flights delayed for longer than four hours are eligible for a full refund instead of travel credit. Southwest Airlines have also struggled with the surge in demand in recent weeks, with hundreds of flights cancelled and thousands delayed.
Unfortunately for those scheduled to be flying in the coming weeks, the schedule is expected to get worse. The past weekend saw nearly 1000 flights get cut from American Airlines’ July schedule, as the airline looks to take the strain off of its operations. A spokesman for American, Andrea Koos, said:
“We never want to disappoint, and feel these schedule adjustments will help ensure we can take good care of our customers and team members and minimize surprises at the airport.”
Many of the flights that have been cancelled take place in the first half of the month and represent just 1% of the total number of flights that are being offered by the airline. As airlines start their rehiring processes to ensure the high number of cancellations doesn’t extend past July, travelers will be hoping for a swift resolution to the matter.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
Tuesday 22nd of June 2021
Have most of these cancellations been for domestic flights or international flights? I have two international flights with American Airlines coming up, one on July 28 and another on August 14.
Wednesday 23rd of June 2021
It's a mix of both, but those flights are very far out still, so hopefully staffing improves