American Airlines canceled more than 1,700 Halloween weekend flights. The company reported that this action was necessary because of a combination of staff shortages and severe weather.
The airline wasn’t prepared to handle both problems at once. Though excessive wind did cause some flight cancellations, others were related to a lack of flight attendants or pilots.
Many airlines suffered significant financial losses during the Coronavirus pandemic, and some continue to struggle despite the recent increase in travel.
At the pandemic’s beginning, numerous airlines enacted large staff cuts. Even though customers are back and ready to fly, airlines still haven’t hired back enough staff.
Though federal pandemic relief requirements disallowed airlines from laying off staff, companies got around that restriction by encouraging workers to quit. Some offered payments to entice employees to leave.
American’s primary hub is in Dallas/Fort Worth, which was the origin or departure location of most canceled flights. The company also canceled numerous flights to and from Charlotte, North Carolina.
On Saturday, the airline’s chief operating officer, David Seymour, sent a message to staff. The note explained the rationale behind the flight cancellations.
Seymour also pointed out that customers with canceled flights were not out of luck. Most received same-day rebookings on different flights.
In November, 1,800 flight attendants will return to work. Additionally, American plans to hire 600 more by the end of 2021.
In July, American canceled almost 1,000 flights. At the time, the airline gave the same reasons it provided this weekend: staffing shortages and severe weather.
Though the airline’s leaders stated all cancellations were proactive, American’s labor unions might beg to differ. The unions have given leaders numerous warnings about understaffing.
Many travelers received little warning about their canceled flights. Some passengers only learned of the cancellations while already on their way to the airport.