Forget the horror movies and scary shows. The true-life nightmares that can haunt you in the daytime and as you sleep right now are…flight complications.
Delays, cancellations, price changes — all of it can make hopping into an airplane and traveling a major stressor. While flight costs have been going down lately, those changes might not last too long. And it’s not just flight costs you have to worry about. You’ve also got to consider mishandled luggage and consumer complaints that might make your trip even more challenging. And now we’ve got some updates that could impact your future trips.
American Airlines is cutting some of its flight schedules (again), according to data from Cirium, an aviation analytics company, cited to by CNN.
We previously shared that American Airlines had cut 7,000 of flights from its September schedule. According to CNN, these cuts amount to 2% of flights in September and October. And it looks like that trend is continuing later into the fall.
Cirium data shows that American Airlines will be cutting 16% of its flights in November (31,000 flights total). It appears that the largest cuts taking place are for flights between Chicago O’Hare and Dallas-Fort Worth. There are also some significant cuts taking place for flights between Boston and Philadelphia.
American Airlines made a statement to CNN about these cuts. In it, they noted that “Preliminary schedules are published 331 days in advance and then adjustments are made closer in based on the schedule we intend to operate…We are now loading schedule adjustments approximately 100 days in advance, which is in line with how we adjusted our schedule in 2019 prior to the pandemic.”
American Airlines also said that the changes being made are “proactive adjustments” done to “size our airline for the resources we have available and to build additional buffer into the remainder of our summer schedule.”
But Mike Arnot, a spokesperson for Cirium, told CNN that the impact on passengers might be “negligible.” According to Arnot, instead of 15 flights per day between Chicago and Dallas, there might be about 9 flights with “more bums in the seats.”
Keep in mind that it’s not just flight cuts you’ll need to be aware of. Some airlines are also stopping flights altogether to some cities due to a shortage of pilots. Earlier in the summer, American Airlines announced that it would be stopping service to 4 cities — Islip, NY; Ithaca, NY; Toledo, Ohio; and Dubuque, Iowa.
American Airlines isn’t the only one making changes though. United Airlines has cut some of its scheduled flights (particularly at Newark, New Jersey), and Delta announced that it was cutting 100 flights every day this summer.
Staffing shortages, weather impacts, and delays with air traffic control have all affected flights this summer, and these factors could continue to impact trips in the future. The U.S. Transportation Secretary, Pete Buttigieg, specifically noted that the air travel system is “very brittle” and has proposed some new consumer protections for passengers.
If some of the changes are ultimately made, there could be stricter rules in the future when it comes to when airlines have to refund or otherwise compensate passengers when flights are canceled or delayed.
Flight Cancellations and Delays
Even if your flight doesn’t get cut from the schedule right away, it could ultimately get canceled, causing you more complications. According to Reuters, flight cancellations by U.S. airlines within the first 7 months of 2022 have already exceeded a comparable period from 2019.
From January to July of 2022, U.S. airlines canceled 128,934 flights, according to data from FlightAware. American Airlines canceled the most flights (19,717), followed by Southwest (17,381 flights). Delta had the least cancellations (around 10,000). Overall, the number of flights canceled through July of 2022 marks an increase of 11% in cancellations compared to pre-pandemic levels.
And there have been nearly 1 million flight delays in 2022.
Things seem to be easing though. According to Ken Quinn, a partner at the law firm of Clyde & Co US LLP, “with increased capacity, higher fares, and lessened demand, the traveling public can expect more on-time flights and fewer cancellations in the fall, at least until the holidays.”
How to Prepare
The best way to be prepared for a potential flight complication is to be informed. You can click here to learn about the airlines to avoid if you don’t want to get bumped from your flight, and click here to learn about the most and least reliable airlines in the U.S.
If you know the data, what airlines tend to get folks to their destinations on time, etc., you can make a more informed decision when picking flights in the future.
You’ll also want to download the app for the airline you’ll be flying with during upcoming trips to make sure you can track plane arrival times, any delays, etc. Having all of that information in the palm of your hand can make it easier to know what to expect on your travel day. It can also be an easy way to make flight changes if things do get significantly delayed or canceled.
If you’ve got layovers, try to give yourself enough layover time to still make those other flights in case your first flight gets delayed.
And it may not be a bad idea to look and see what alternative flights could still get you where you need to be, just in case, so you have a backup plan in mind.
To see air travel tips that’ll change your life, click here. And be sure to stay tuned to DFB for more travel news so you can be prepared for upcoming trips!
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What are you worried about when it comes to upcoming flights? Tell us in the comments.
The post A Major U.S. Airline Is Cutting THOUSANDS of Flights This Fall first appeared on the disney food blog.