American Airlines cancels hundreds of flights amid staffing, maintenance issues

Airlines, the TSA have struggled with staffing as demand for travel has jumped.

June 20, 2021, 2:39 PM

Hundreds of American Airlines flights have been canceled this weekend and Monday because of significant staffing and maintenance issues.

As of Sunday afternoon, 123 flights were canceled Saturday, 178 on Sunday and 97 were canceled for Monday – largely the result of a high number of sick calls, combined with maintenance and other staffing issues.

American told ABC News that most of the cancelations are on A320 and 737 aircraft, but that it may continue to cancel at least 50 to 60 flights per day for the rest of June and 50 to 80 flights per day through 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," according to an American Airlines statement.

American said it will attempt to notify customers far in advance of their flights and provide an opportunity for customers to rebook on alternative flights through its app.

An American Airlines plane takes off at the Miami International Airport on June 16, 2021 in Miami.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

All U.S. airlines and the Transportation Security Administration have struggled with staffing as air travel has rapidly jumped from historic lows to approaching pre-pandemic levels.

When air travel came to a halt in March 2020, thousands of employees were offered early retirements and buyouts, but now the airlines are desperate to fill these positions again.

American is also dealing with a staffing shortage with their catering contractor and wheelchair operators.

United Airlines is desperate for baggage agents.

And at one point over the Memorial Day weekend, Delta Air Lines' automated service told customers the wait time to talk with a reservation agent was more than 21 hours.

Earlier this month, acting TSA Administrator Darby LaJoye asked office employees to volunteer at airports for up to 45 days. The volunteers would handle non-screening functions such as on-boarding for new hires and management of security lines.

In its attempt to hire 6,000 new officers to handle the summer travel boost, the TSA was offering recruitment incentives, such as $1,000 to officers who accept employment within the agency.

Related Topics