Following A Difficult Weekend Of Travel, At Least 800 Flights Were Cancelled Monday

According to flight-tracking service FlightAware, at least 800 domestic aircraft were grounded on Monday afternoon. After another tumultuous travel weekend, where over 1,500 domestic flights were canceled on Saturday and Sunday, this comes as no surprise. At least 224 Delta (DAL) flights were canceled on Monday, accounting for 7 percent of the airline’s total operations; United (UAL) canceled 128 flights, while American Airlines (AAL) canceled 67.

“Delta teams continue to safely manage through compounding factors affecting our operation this weekend, including higher-than-planned unscheduled absences in some of our work groups, weather, and air traffic control constraints,” a Delta Air Lines spokesperson said Sunday. “Canceling a flight is always our last resort, and we sincerely apologize to our customers for any disruption to their travel plans.”

That summer will be a living hell for travelers, they say. Despite receiving $54 billion in federal aid at the height of the Covid epidemic to prevent mandatory layoffs, airlines today employ fewer people than they did prior to the pandemic, especially pilots, due to buyouts and early retirement packages. As a result, things can go downhill fast when there is inclement weather, a lack of air traffic controllers, or sick employees.
More than a hundred flights were canceled on Monday, most of which were at Newark Liberty International Airport and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

Last Thursday, United announced that they would be eliminating 12% of their daily domestic flights out of their Newark hub. On Saturday and Sunday, they canceled a total of 56 flights. The reductions will begin in July and will amount to around 50 fewer flights per day. FlightAware reports that on Saturday, 634 flights in the United States were canceled and on Sunday, 868 flights were canceled.

“More than any time in our history, the various factors currently impacting our operation — weather and air traffic control, vendor staffing, increased Covid case rates contributing to higher-than-planned unscheduled absences in some work groups — are resulting in an operation that isn’t consistently up to the standards Delta has set for the industry in recent years,” said Delta Chief Customer Experience Officer Allison Ausband in an online post.
But critics say airlines should have anticipated these issues ahead of the summer travel season.
“When you stress-test the airline operation model, that’s when you see the same results,” Capt. Dennis Tajer, the spokesperson for the Allied Pilots Association, the pilots union at American Airlines, said earlier this month.
With flights already booked to capacity, “one flight being canceled doesn’t just cause a cascading effect, it causes a tidal wave of problems. It’s déjà vu all over again,” Tajer added, referencing the chaotic holiday travel season late last year.
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