A company statement blamed bad weather and lack of staff for the cancellations.
WASHINGTON – Editor’s note: American continues to update the total number of cancellations Sunday. This article reflects figures from 18.30
American Airlines was forced to cancel more than 1,800 flights over the weekend due to staff shortages and bad weather, according to a spokesman for the airline.
Sunday travelers felt the bulk of the situation, with almost 20% of today’s itinerary (980+ flights) being canceled, as airports across the country were still hit by Friday and Saturday cancellations (almost 900 canceled flights on the two days).
“We expect a significant improvement from tomorrow with some residual impact from the weekend,” said spokesman Shannon Gilson.
Across the DC subway region, travelers at Regan National, Dulles and BWI airports were left to struggle to rearrange their canceled plans.
Local resident Alan – who refused to give a last name – had a trip planned to Orlando outside National Sunday afternoon. But that morning he received a message that his flight had been delayed by almost two hours.
“I got a text message early this morning that the flight, which was originally scheduled for 1:45 p.m., had been rescheduled for 3:25 p.m.,” Alan said. “It was okay, it gave us a little extra time to pack and so on.”
But 3:25 came and went, and the flight made no progress toward leaving, Alan said.
“At 3:25, well we have a problem with the crew,” he added.
Alan said he was told that two flight attendants were late and that the plane could not leave without the full crew.
“Two flight attendants are missing,” Alan said, recounting the schedule he was given at the airport. “One comes from another destination and another comes from home and will be here at some point. And we will [get] you on a flight. “
But eventually, Alan’s flight would be canceled, leaving hundreds of his fellow passengers to regroup.
According to an AA statement, the airline expects nearly 1,800 stewardesses to return from leave on Monday, while the rest will return by December 1st. The company also plans to hire at least 600 new stewardesses. Prior to a normally busy travel season, American said it intends to add a total of 4,000 new employees from pilots to reservation team members.
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Americans’ problems began late in the week, with strong winds sometimes closing flights and preventing the airline from using all runways at its busiest hub, Dallas / Fort Worth International Airport. This made it difficult for American to get crews in position for upcoming flights, and the cancellations and delays got worse through Saturday and Sunday.
“To ensure that we take care of our customers and provide planning security for our crews, we have adjusted our operations for the last few days of this month by proactively canceling some flights,” said David Seymour, the airline’s chief operating officer, in a note to employees Saturday.
Seymour said the American was able to put most of the stranded travelers on other planes the same day.
Earlier in October, Southwest canceled well over 2,000 flights after disruptions that started with weather problems in Florida and were exacerbated by staff shortages.
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