American Airlines isn’t out of the woods when it comes to canceled flights just yet, with delays in travel leading to frustrated passengers across the U.S.
“We’re going to Washington, and then we wait there, and take a flight in to Akron/Canton,” passenger Beverly Vaughn said Monday morning at Los Angeles International Airport, on her way home from a cruise.
“I hope! By 9 o’clock tonight I hope I’m home,” she said.
The airline began canceling flights Friday, Oct. 29, it said due to a combination of weather and staffing issues. Those cancellations continued over the course of the Halloween weekend.
Friday’s cancellations, 343 flights out of a total 5,926, made up 5.8% of all the airline’s flights nationwide for the day, the airline reported in a statement at 2:30 a.m. Pacific time Monday morning.
On Saturday, the number increased to 11% of its flights, with 548 canceled out of 4,967 total.
On Sunday, a whopping 20% of American Airlines’ total flights were scratched, with 1058 of its total 5,180 flights canceled in just one day.
As of that 2:30 a.m. Monday statement, the cancellations are still going, with 250 American Airlines flights already nixed on Nov. 1 out of the total 5,639 — just over 4%.
The airline says most passengers have been rebooked, and they are being rebooked on the same day as their original flight. But that wasn’t the case for everyone.
“I needed to return home to Austin [Texas], but I had to delay, let my leadership know that I was gonna be late because of the flights,” said Staff Sgt. Kimberly Encalade, an active duty member of the military. “And I found out that it was more than just me.”
In a letter to employees, American Airline’s Chief Operating Officer David Seymour stated the airline was “proactively canceling some flights” during the last days of October, as “severe winds in DFW [Dallas-Fort Worth]” closed runways and reduced the number of flights that could arrive.
“With additional weather throughout the system, our staffing begins to run tight as crew members end up out of their regular flight sequences,” the letter reads.
The airline hopes some of those staffing issues will resolve themselves, as 1,800 flight attendants return from leave Monday. The remainder of those attendants on leave will return on Dec. 1, 2021.
The company is also hiring over 600 new flight attendants before the end of the year, and expects to have 4,000 new hires across the board in the 4th quarter.
But for now, passengers are waiting it out.
Source: NBC Los Angeles