American Airlines has canceled another 250 flights on Monday, continuing a days-long chain reaction of cancellations that started last week.
American says it canceled 1,058 flights on Sunday, or roughly one in every five of its originally scheduled flights. That was on top of the 548 flights it canceled on Saturday and 343 flights on Friday. Overall about 10% of its mainline flights have been canceled over the four-day period. The canceled flights have stranded tens of thousands of passengers. In a memo, American COO David Seymour said the airline is “proactively canceling” flights to provide “scheduling certainty for our crews” after high winds and bad weather hit major hubs including Dallas-Fort Worth on Thursday, leaving flight crews out of position.
American insists help is on the way. Starting Monday, the airline says 1,800 flight attendants are returning from pandemic time-off. Three weeks ago, Southwest Airlines canceled more than 2,000 flights over several days citing weather and air traffic control issues. That meltdown cost the airline $75 million, it reported recently. When the Covid-19 pandemic brought air travel to a near halt in 2020, airlines offered staff buyouts, early retirement packages and unpaid leave to cut costs and survive the downturn. Now all the airlines are scrambling to hire employees and bring back as much staff as possible.
But unions at the various carriers charge that some of the service disruptions are due to bad management decisions and flawed scheduling systems. And they say that the problems will not end with this weekend’s woes. Capt. Dennis Tajer, an American Airlines pilot and spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association, said last month that the union is particularly concerned with how the airlines will handle the surge in passengers during the Thanksgiving and December holiday periods.