American Airlines cancelled hundreds of flights over the past weekend and plans to cancel perhaps thousands more through mid-July, according to multiple news reports. The airline blames the cancellations on a number of factors, including staff shortages, bad weather, and a huge increase in demand for flights since the covid-19 pandemic has finally started to settle down in the United States.
“The first few weeks of June have brought unprecedented weather to our largest hubs, heavily impacting our operation and causing delays, cancelled flights and disruptions to crew member schedules and our customers’ plans,” Stacy Day, a spokesperson for American Airlines, told Gizmodo over email.
“That, combined with the labour shortages some of our vendors are contending with and the incredibly quick ramp up of customer demand, has led us to build in additional resilience and certainty to our operation by adjusting a fraction of our scheduled flying through mid-July.”
American did not divulge to Gizmodo how many cancellations it plans for the coming weeks, but ABC News reports it’s likely to be between 50 and 80 per day.
From ABC News:
As of Sunday afternoon, 123 flights were cancelled Saturday, 178 on Sunday and 97 were cancelled for Monday – largely the result of a high number of sick calls, combined with maintenance and other staffing issues.
American told ABC News that most of the cancelations are on A320 and 737 aircraft, but that it may continue to cancel at least 50 to 60 flights per day for the rest of June and 50 to 80 flights per day through July.
The cancelled flights are roughly 1% of the airline’s capacity for the period but demonstrates just how difficult it can be to shuffle so many flights in an effort get back to some kind of pre-pandemic “normal” so quickly. American assures passengers they’re doing everything they can to make it as painless as possible.
“We made targeted changes with the goal of impacting the fewest number of customers by adjusting flights in markets where we have multiple options for re-accommodation,” Day continued in her statement to Gizmodo.
“Our focus this summer―and always―is on delivering for our customers no matter the circumstance. We never want to disappoint, and feel these schedule adjustments will help ensure we can take good care of our customers and team members and minimise surprises at the airport.”
Have you booked a flight on American between now and July 15? You might want to contact the airline and make sure you’re still good to go.