American Airlines claimed on Saturday that thousands of flights were cancelled over the weekend due to “unfavorable weather conditions.”
The airlines admitted it had to cancel at least 537 flights on Saturday and over 300 flights on Sunday, in addition to 376 flights canceled on Friday.
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Southwest Airlines canceled 70 flights over the weekend while another 2,000 flights experienced delays.
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Dailymail.co.uk reports: The American cancellations primarily affected its largest hub, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, as well as airports in Charlotte, Miami, and Phoenix.
A spokesperson for the Allied Pilots Association, Captain Dennis Tajer, blamed management for the cancellations, though in a statement to DailyMail.com, he did not respond when asked about whether pilots and other employees were unhappy with the vaccine mandate and if that factored into the staff shortages.
‘As we look at management’s tracked reasons for cancellations, it confirms that there was a weather event but then, as has been during the summer, management failed to connect pilots and flight attendants to the airplanes many days after the storm passes,’ Tajer told DailyMail.com.
‘Mother nature generates a storm and management’s failure to properly schedule creates storms days after.’
Tajer added: ‘The mark of a great airline is not performing well on clear days, it’s how it recovers after the weather disrupts operations.
‘For much too long, management is failing to meet the fundamentals of airline operations and they aren’t showing any interest in joining us to find solutions.
‘Today, of the 538 flights cancelled, impacting more than 73,000 passengers, 521 flights management attributed to their inability to connect pilots and flight attendants to the airplanes.
‘Halloween doesn’t look much better for the same reasons. It will be all trick and no treat.’
‘We have solutions to improve scheduling practice, however, to date management has shown no interest in working with us to fix this problem.
‘Our passengers and fellow workers deserve better than the uncertainty that management delivers after every storm.’
Most of the cancelled flights were scheduled to depart to and from Dallas-Fort. According to FlightAware, 107 flights flying out of DFW were cancelled as of Saturday night while 108 were delayed.
American also canceled 103 flights bound for DFW while delaying 92.
The Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex on Wednesday and Thursday experienced severe wind gusts of up to 50mph with sustained winds between 20 and 25mph, causing power outages and flight delays.
Southwest Airlines canceled just 87 flights on Saturday, but it delayed a whopping 666 flights. DailyMail.com has reached out to Southwest seeking comment.
‘With additional weather throughout the system, our staffing begins to run tight as crew members end up out of their regular flight sequences,’ the airline said in a statement.
‘To make sure we are taking care of our customers and providing scheduling certainty for our crews, we have adjusted our operation for the last few days this month by proactively canceling some flights,’ the airline said.
‘We are taking this measure to minimize any inconvenience as much as possible. Most of the customers impacted by these changes are being rebooked the same day, and we apologize for having to make these changes.’
The company expects to get through this period of irregular operations soon, it said.
Heading towards the busy holiday travel season, carriers are trying to hire more employees.
American Airlines said it is increasing its staffing across all operations, with nearly 1,800 flight attendants returning from leave and more than 600 newly hired flight attendants coming on board by the end of December.
‘Additionally, hiring for our airports is well underway and we anticipate 4,000 new team members joining us across the system in the fourth quarter.’
Southwest also said it was hiring aggressively, with the aim of having about 5,000 new employees by the end of this year.