American Airlines Cancels Hundreds of Weekend Flights – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports

DALLAS (AP / WSVN) – American Airlines canceled hundreds of flights on Sunday for the third day in a row as it grappled with staff shortages and messed up weekend plans for tens of thousands of travelers.

By late Sunday afternoon, American had canceled more than 900 flights – a third of its schedule for the day – after cutting nearly 900 flights in the previous two days, according to the FlightAware tracking service.

Seventy-five of these flights took place at Miami International Airport.

An American spokeswoman said the airline expects considerable improvement from Monday, although there will be “some residual impact from the weekend.” As of Sunday afternoon, American had already canceled more than 100 flights as of Monday, according to FlightAware.

It was another day of long lines and frustrations for American Airlines passengers at MIA.

Anthanette Bell has said she will have to wait even longer than she expected to return home to Texas.

“My flight last night was canceled, and now they’re saying my flight to San Antonio is canceled,” she said.

Bell is among hundreds of passengers stranded and stranded in South Florida due to cancellations.

“We were supposed to be on our way to Aruba to celebrate my 47th birthday, but we got canceled,” said Sylveita Jones, who flew to South Florida from Maryland.

“I have cancer. I have oxygen machines, breathing machines and everything, and I’m really pissed off,” Bell said.

American’s troubles began Thursday and Friday, when high winds at times shut down its busiest hub, Dallas / Fort Worth International Airport, and prevented the airline from using all runways there. This made it difficult for American to set up crews for upcoming flights and caused disruption. The number of canceled and delayed flights increased in number and geographic extent throughout the weekend.

“To make sure that we take care of our customers and that we do the planning of our crews, we have adjusted our operations in recent days this month by proactively canceling some flights,” said David Seymour, director of the operation of the airline, in a statement. note to employees on Saturday.

About two-thirds of Sunday’s cancellations were due to a lack of flight attendants in the right places, with nearly all of the remaining cancellations due to a pilot shortage, according to internal figures seen by the Associated Press.

Cancellations and delays have created a nightmare for travelers across the country. At MIA, cameras showed passengers queuing for hours, with little or no response.

“You can’t reach anyone on the phone, and the text messages they send to cancel flights are no explanation. It’s just: “Sorry, your flight doesn’t leave until Tuesday night at 8pm,” one traveler said.

“We were in a baggage claim lane, we were changing booking lanes, for hours each,” Jones said.

The nature of the debacle – starting with bad weather in one part of the country before spiraling out of control – was similar to disruptions at Southwest Airlines beginning of October. Together, the two failures have raised worrying questions about whether major airlines are prepared for the busy holiday travel season ahead.

The American says it will.

Seymour said nearly 1,800 flight attendants will start returning to work as of Monday and at least 600 new hires will be on board by the end of the year. He said the airline is also hiring pilots and booking agents in time for the holidays.

This offers little consolation to passengers who have been waiting at the MIA for hours, and in some cases for more than a day.

“I had to cancel all my Airbnbs. I don’t know if I will be reimbursed by them. I don’t know if the US airlines are going to reimburse me for this, ”said Apoorva Srivastava, who flew to South Florida from Washington, DC.

Airlines not allowed to lay off workers during pandemic as condition of billions of federal pandemic aid – US temporarily put on leave 19,000 workers when the money got lost last year, but canceled the holidays when the aid was reinstated. That hasn’t stopped airlines from persuading thousands of employees to accept cash incentives and quit voluntarily, however. American, Southwest and others are now hiring employees to replace some of those who left in 2020.

U.S. unions have warned for months that the airline is planning more flights than its shrunken workforce can handle, leaving employees too scattered when inclement weather rages on air travel.

American Airlines pilot Dennis Tajer and spokesperson for the Allied Pilots Association said the union had not seen such a high level of cancellations after the storms passed.

“Since the spring, we have warned against the resumption of these post-weather management failures, and it is only getting worse,” he said. “We continue to be very concerned about the uncertainty surrounding the upcoming winter holiday season.”

For passengers waiting at the MIA, many are just hoping this problem will end soon.

“I want this to be over. I am tired. I just want to go home, ”Bell said.

American has scheduled about 2,600 flights on Sunday, not counting regional affiliates that fly under the American Eagle name. That number is expected to rise to more than 3,000 eight-day flights around Thanksgiving and early December, according to aviation data company Cirium.

Earlier in October, Southwest has canceled more than 2,000 flights after the disruptions started with weather problems in Florida and were made worse by staff shortages. Southwest’s COO said the airline was pursuing “a very aggressive hiring plan” but was “still not where we want to be in staffing,” particularly the pilots.

Some passengers who spoke to 7News said American Airlines was helping them pay their hotel room bills, while others said they had not heard from the airline.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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