Tens of thousands of American Airlines passengers have been stranded at the U.S. airport since Friday as a result of the airline’s cancellation of more than 2,000 flights. A staffing shortage had caused crippling logistical failures for American Airlines.
As a result of high winds in its Dallas-Fort Worth hub on Thursday, flight crews were unable to perform their regular duties and the cancellations occurred throughout the day.
“The problem with most of the large airlines is if they if one hub sneezes, the other hubs catch colds,” aviation expert Henry Harteveldt said to ABC News.
“The airlines’ networks are all interconnected.”
David Seymour, COO of American Airlines, stated in an internal memo that to produce a more predictable schedule for their crews, some flights had to be proactively canceled “for the last few days this month.”
In the early hours of Monday morning, American canceled 300 flights, but anticipated they will get through “the brief irregular ops period quickly with the start of a new month.”
“Unfortunately, when bad weather hits an airline at the end of the month, the problems are exacerbated because often crews are out of the legal amount of time they’re allowed to work,” Harteveldt explained.
According to experts, the return from a leave of 1,800 American flight attendants, on Monday, is expected to boost American’s performance this week.
Three weeks ago another operational meltdown occurred when 2,000 Southwest flights were canceled over three days.
According to the airline, the delay was the result of poor weather, air traffic control problems, and “other external constraints.”
Southwest responded by saying that it plans to employ more than 5,000 people by the end of the year and that it has reached 50% of its goal so far.
The inability of Americans and Southwest to stabilize their schedules quickly is seen as a possible preview of how things are going to be this winter.
During the busy travel season, airlines are booked at their maximum capacity. As a result, experts are concerned there will be no chance for recovery if a major airline experiences a logistical problem.
“The chaos that is the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday travel season will be even more chaotic this year,” Harteveldt explained.