American Airlines cancels hundreds of flights due to staffing shortages
DALLAS - American Airlines is struggling to keep up with the surging travel demand and has had to cancel hundreds of flights. The cancellations are expected to continue through July for several reasons.
FlightAware.com showed more than 100 American Airlines flights were canceled Monday morning. About 30 of those were set to depart DFW Airport and 34 were inbound flights.
Since Friday, the airline has canceled more than 500 flights.
The airline said the demand for summer travel came quicker than expected and there was unprecedented weather earlier this month at major hubs like DFW.
The Fort Worth-based airline and its vendors are also dealing with a labor shortage, like so many other industries emerging from the pandemic.
The airline also says many of the cancellations were done in advance so customers could be rebooked before the day they were traveling.
According to data on the canceled flights, one of the top reasons was a lack of available flight crews.
The Allied Pilots Association represents American Airlines pilots. Hundreds of them were furloughed last October.
"We don’t want to hear the excuses. It was you didn’t have enough pilots to move the metal and we’re ready, so let us do our job," said Allied Pilots Association Spokesperson Cat. Dennis Tajer. "American was the only major network carrier to furlough pilots in October. They recalled them in December, 1600 of them, and they still have not all been trained. We’ve had 1,000 pilots retire early. Those pilots who flew those airplanes, new pilots need to be trained into that."
Tajer says the recalled pilots won’t be all trained until the end of summer. He says American is flying about 30% more than other major airlines, ramping up its schedule aggressively as travel rebounds to record numbers since the pandemic began.
The association is urging the airline to add incentives for existing pilots, like giving advance notice for overtime flights and more flexible scheduling.
"The retirements, the other leaves, the parking of other airplanes, this tsunami of training and they’re building a schedule as if COVID didn’t happen, which is great, but they didn’t adapt," Tajer said.
FOX 4 talked to a few travelers who were stuck in DFW overnight.
"I just got a text saying my flight was canceled, that they rebooked me on a different flight with a layover for like four hours. That was it," said Dana Fenning, who is flying to Minnesota. "It’s frustrating but what can we do?"
"We just got a text on our phone that we’d have an hour delay and so that caused me to miss my connection flight," said Ariana Allen, who is flying to Ohio. "Things happen, so I’m good with it."
A spokeswoman for American Airlines said 1% of Americans operations have been cut for July but many are targeted cancellations in markets where customers can get on another flight.