ST. LOUIS – Travel numbers are picking up again and some airlines cannot keep up with the demand. American Airlines announced it’s canceling hundreds of flights through mid-July to make sure it has enough staff.
The cancellations have already impacted flights at St. Louis-Lambert International Airport. American Airlines told FOX 2/KPLR 11 that one flight cancelled at STL on Monday was due to the nationwide cancellations.
The airline shared this statement:
“The first few weeks of June have brought unprecedented weather to our largest hubs, heavily impacting our operation and causing delays, canceled flights and disruptions to crew member schedules and our customers’ plans. That, combined with the labor shortages some of our vendors are contending with and the incredibly quick ramp up of customer demand, has led us to build in additional resilience and certainty to our operation by adjusting a fraction of our scheduled flying through mid-July. We made targeted changes with the goal of impacting the fewest number of customers by adjusting flights in markets where we have multiple options for re-accommodation.
“Our focus this summer — and always — is on delivering for our customers no matter the circumstance. We never want to disappoint, and feel these schedule adjustments will help ensure we can take good care of our customers and team members and minimize surprises at the airport.”
The airline also said the cancellations amount to about 72 flights per day. The airline operated about 5600 flights daily. This means it impacts about one percent of the airline’s daily operations. But 72 flights per day until mid-July (July 15) means there could be more than 1,700 canceled American Airlines flights if the numbers stick.
The airline canceled about 300 flights over the weekend. According to FlightAware, a worldwide airline tracking website, two American Airlines flights were cancelled at Lambert Sunday.
While travel is up compared to 2020 pandemic-levels, it still is not at pre-pandemic travel levels in summer 2019. According to TSA, 3.98 million people traveled over the weekend. That’s more than triple the amount of passengers the airlines saw the same weekend in 2020, at the height of the pandemic. During June 19-20, 2020, 1.09 million people traveled. The same weekend in 2019 before the pandemic saw 5.09 million travelers.
“You have to be really patient,” Joni Konhilas, a business traveler at Lambert, said Monday. “I think it’s going to impact my life substantially just because I travel for business all the time, so I’m going to have to look at other options.”
Some travelers said these cancellations couldn’t have come at a worse time.
“Summertime it’s going to do a major impact, because a lot of people are going to be traveling, due to the weather, people will want to travel,” Uooskie said after he arrived at the airport on Monday.
“It’s definitely going to be an issue, definitely going to be a lot of delays, a lot of upset passengers and families, l I feel bad for the people that are working right now,” traveler David Lambach said.
He flies about weekly for work and exclusively on American Airlines because he said it is the only airline that services his hometown in Virginia. He said he was worried when he saw the number of cancellations.