DALLAS — American Airlines continues to cancel flights. On Monday, more than 450 were cut, in addition to the thousands of cancellations and delays in the days before.
High winds in the Dallas-Fort Worth area on Thursday and Friday caused issues to flight schedules. Weather forced some runways to temporarily shut down at DFW International Airport, where American Airlines operates heavily.
In a memo to employees on Saturday, COO David Seymore said American Airlines proactively canceled flights.
“With additional weather throughout the system, our staffing begins to run tight as crew members end up out of their regular flight sequences. 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 of this month by proactively canceling some flights. 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.”
Henry Harteveldt, travel industry analyst with Atmosphere Research Group, said the start of November will hopefully be positive for American Airlines.
“Today is the start of the new month. The clocks, if you will, for pilots and flight attendants duty-time resets to zero. And the fact that American has 1,800 more active-duty flight attendants today than they did yesterday puts the airline in better shape," Harteveldt said.
American Airlines confirms 1,800 flight attendants returned from leave on Nov. 1. The remainder are returning on Dec. 1, and there will be more than 600 new-hire flight attendants on property by the end of December.
Harteveldt said the airlines needs to reduce the number of scheduled flights in order to have a larger buffer in the upcoming weeks. With an increase in travelers, potential winter weather and vaccine-related issues, there will be more staffing issues in the coming weeks.
According to the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, the union for AA flight attendants, spokesperson Paul Hartshorn, Jr. said, “Flight Attendant staffing at American remains strained and reflects what is happening across the industry as we continue to deal with pandemic-related issues. Flight Attendant schedules are being disrupted to protect the operation to help our customers make it to their destinations.”
Dallas-based Southwest Airlines isn’t in the clear either. On Sunday, 203 flights were canceled while 1,153 were delayed. On Monday, at least 85 were canceled, while 856 were delayed.
“You are home to two of the most problematic carriers in the U.S. Airline industry right now,” said Harteveldt. “There is no way around it though. This is not going to be the cheeriest holiday season for air travelers.”
Harteveldt recommends for people to fly earlier if they are going to travel on Thanksgiving week. He also recommends booking an extra, refundable flight with a different airline in case one gets canceled.
And if the destination is convenient enough, he said driving or taking a train may be better options.