Airline labor issues don’t go away after summer
Thousands of passengers across the country had their flights canceled or delayed last week – becoming another item on the list of travel meltdowns to make headlines this year. While storm systems caused the most recent hiccups, Newark Liberty International Airport alerts also cited staffing.
“Two things can be true at the same time,” said Sara Nelson, International President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA.
Bad weather can have a snowball effect, causing logistical chaos. Flight crews are held up on the tarmac, unable to get to work in time for their next flight. Nelson argues that airline staffing models do not provide enough flexibility in the system to deal with such issues smoothly.
“You can’t lose a person,” she said. “It’s very stretched out, so there are just fewer employees responding to customer needs and requests and handling issues.”
When mass delays and cancellations happen, furious and confused travelers go wild Twitterwondering why personnel issues were impacting their flights. According to the last air travel consumer report from the Department of Transportation, there was a 35% increase in service complaints from May to June, and complaints are nearly 270% above pre-pandemic levels.