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Airlines facing problems ahead of holiday surge

American Airlines Results
Posted at 1:33 PM, Nov 02, 2021

DENVER, Colo. — Airlines are struggling to keep up with demand.

American Airlines has canceled more than 1,800 flights across the country since Friday. It's the second major airline to experience major problems in the last three weeks. Southwest Airlines canceled more than 2,000 flights in mid-October.

“You can go back all the way to start of the summer travel season, we saw this roll across the airlines from United to American, and recently we saw Southwest,” said Skyler McKinley, a representative with AAA. “Every airline is struggling with the same factors. There’s also a lot of uncertainty. Right now, airlines are going above and beyond— allowing passengers to cancel their flights in the pandemic.”

Not only does American Airlines blame staffing shortages for the issues, but severe winds in its largest hub of Dallas Fort Worth

American Airlines expects to have 1,800 flight attendants to return this week, and more to be on the job by Dec. 1.

With the holiday season around the corner, experts are aware of the worries travelers have. But there is some good news, McKinley says.

“Right now is where you want to see the hiccups,” McKinley said. “Because seeing them now generally is a sign that the airlines are balancing for everything else. When they know they’ll have a surge in demand, they’re going be able to rise to meet it.”

According to Business and Economic Journalist Marc Stewart, airline apps and early ticket purchases will be a traveler's best friend.

“Take the first flight of the day, yes it may mean getting up early, but the airlines try to keep an online schedule first thing in the morning,” Stewart said. “If your flight is canceled or delayed, oftentimes you’ll be put on another flight or another connecting flight and use the app instead of waiting in line or on hold, if you go to the app on your phone the airlines have already provided you another option.”

Mckinley said problems with air travel won't be fixed overnight. He expects them to persist for the next couple of years.