Things aren’t looking too good for July 4 travelers this holiday weekend, as thousands of flights have been cancelled and delayed amid staffing shortages and protesting pilots.
A reported 5,827 US flights were delayed on Thursday, while 639 were cancelled, Daily Mail reports.
According to AAA, 3.5 millions are expected to fly this holiday weekend.
On Thursday, Delta Airlines pilots went on strike outside several major US airports which include LAX, JFK, Atlanta and Sea-Tac, to protest stalled contracts following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Delta Air Lines warned travelers ahead of the holiday weekend that they could be impacted by significant flight delays and cancellation, the outlet reports.
American Airlines has delayed over 700 flights, with 88 percent due to staffing shortages.
Dennis Tajer, an American Airlines pilot and the Communications Committee chairman for the Allied Pilots Association, claimed that American Airlines is delaying flights 24 hours before scheduled takeoff to make the number of cancellations appear lower.
Tajer said that flights delayed by 24 hours are due to cancellations.
“American Airlines is claiming that they have the pilots to fly the summer schedule. They’ve said that they have a training backlog, but we’re good,” Tajer said.
“We don’t believe them. Based on our numbers, they do not have the pilots and staffing to get this done. We’ve warned them for months and month. This is a broken record, the needle is skipping on the same groove of the vinyl,” he explained.
In just the past two days, 75,000 passengers have been impacted by American Airline flight cancellations, Daily Mail reports.
“The house is on fire. We have buckets of water and they’ve told us not to move,” Tajer said.
According to Tajer, pilots are willing to work overtime to mitigate the crisis but American Airlines refuses.
“What’s even worse, we have solutions to better utilize us. We’ve told them for the last two summers, but they’re not interested,” Tajer said.
US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg held a virtual meeting with the CEO’s of major US airlines to ensure they can provide reliable teansportation for the busy summer month. The meeting was called in response to the chaos that ensued at airports during Memorial Day weekend, when thousands of flights were also cancelled and delayed.
In addition to air travel, 42 million Americans are expected to hit the roads this weekend amid historic high gas prices as inflation rocks the US.
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