EAST ELMHURST, Queens (WABC) — American Airlines flight schedule appeared to be back on track Tuesday after disruptions caused by staffing shortages forced the airline to cancel more than 1,000 flights last weekend.
There were still around 100 cancellations Tuesday, meaning roughly 1,500 flights have been grounded since Friday.
“I was surprised when they switched my airport,” passenger Morgan Markee said. “The lady at the desk when I was originally trying to get my ticket fixed, told me, ‘Yeah, we just don’t have any pilots.'”
A shortage of pilots on top of 50 mile per hour winds at the American Airlines Dallas-Fort Worth hub only complicated the problem last weekend.
According to Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst from Atmosphere Research Group, many airlines have stretched themselves too thin.
“Airlines have bitten off more than they can chew,” he said. “When bad weather or something else occurs, they don’t have enough crews available to fill in what they call reserve crews to come in and take care of flights when the original scheduled crews can’t make it.”
But industry expert advise travelers should make a few moves to insulate themselves from flight disruptions, like only booking direct flights.
“Get out at 7 a.m., get out at 6 a.m.,” said Willis Orlando, senior product operations specialist at Scott’s Cheap Flights. “If you can get in that first flight of the day, you’re much less likely to be impacted by a weather related delay. Similarly, your flight crew should be well rested should be ready to go.”
As for American Airlines, it says it is already moving to minimized staffing shortages, with 1,800 furloughed flight attendants returning this week and thousands of new hires across this country.