November 1. As you may already be aware, American Airlines canceled more than 400 flights on Monday, bringing the total number of cancellations since last Friday, according to Flight Aware, to well north of 2,000. On Sunday alone, nearly one of every five American flights was cancelled.
Per the airline, the wave of cancellations came as a result of bad weather and staffing shortages. But really, it’s just one operational breakdown out of a great many of its kind over the past few months. Last month, Southwest Airlines canceled upwards of 2,000 flights for similar reasons, and at a loss of $75 million. In August, Spirit stranded thousands of customers across the country as a result of mass cancellations and delays, resulting in airport chaos. In short: this wasn’t totally unexpected.
According to a new report from NBC, many airlines — American included — are still running on “skeletal” staffing as a result of employees having accepted buyouts or voluntary leaves of absence last spring. American Airlines Chief Operating Officer David Seymour has said that 1,800 flight attendants would be returning from said leave starting Monday, with the rest starting back in December.
But like all other federal contractors, American Airlines is also now closing in on the federally mandated deadline to get the vaccine, which has only served to convolute things further.
It was a perfect storm of variables that resulted in thousands of cancellations for American this weekend, only a fraction of which were genuinely atmospheric. Unfortunately, it may also be a very good indicator of what’s to come as the holiday travel season approaches.
Source: Inside Hook