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‘Winds of change!’: Bewitched American Airlines cancels over 1,200 flights citing wind gusts, out of sequence staff

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In an un-Happy Halloween scenario that seems to becoming all too familiar, American Airlines has cancelled 1,000-plus flights across its system this weekend

“Travel this Halloween weekend has become an nightmare for a lot of passengers who plan to fly in and out of DFW airport,” CBS DFW asserted in the context of the carrier’s north Texas operations center.

The company’s chief operating officer, David Seymour, attributed the grounded planes to “high wind gusts on Thursday that cut capacity at its Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport hub and that crew members ended up out of position for their next flights,” CNBC reported.

“Pilot and flight attendant availability were listed as reasons for most of the cancellations on Saturday and Sunday, according to internal tallies,” the news outlet added.

“With additional weather throughout the system, our staffing begins to run tight as crew members end up out of their regular flight sequences,” Seymour explained to his staff.

Seymour also reportedly characterized the cancellations as a “preemptive” measure “[t]o make sure we are taking care of our customers and providing scheduling certainty for our crews.”

In a tweet, however, that contained what he deemed “receipts” about a purported uncoordinated protest by flight attendants, conservative influencer Jack Posobiec cast doubt on the airline’s explanation:

It is estimated by American’s pilots union that  about 30 percent (totaling about 4,200 aviators) of its membership have not gotten the jab.

On October 1, American’s CEO Doug Parker announced that “it is clear that team members who choose to remain unvaccinated will not be able to work at American Airlines.”

Earlier this month, the usually very consumer-friendly Southwest Airlines cancelled about 2,000 flights and blamed the disruption on bad weather and air traffic control issues.

The behind-the-scenes issue allegedly appeared to be, however, an anti-vaccine-mandate employee protest in the form of a mass “sickout.”

These kinds of job actions do not augur well for what might occur in the upcoming heavy holiday travel season.

In its coverage of AA’s cancellation woes, CNBC made no mention of possible workforce dissatisfaction with what some vaccine mandate critics have separately and generally lamented as “my body, Joe Biden’s choice.”

Airlines have struggled with staffing shortfalls that have sparked hundreds of flight cancellations and other disruptions since travel demand rebounded sharply in late spring. Carriers had convinced thousands of staff members to accept voluntary buyouts or leaves of absence to cut their payroll expenses during the depths of the pandemic.

Now they are trying to staff up again, hiring pilots, flight attendants, ramp and customer service workers, and others. Leaner staffing makes it harder for airlines to recover from disruptions like bad weather or technology problems.

 

“Airlines are large employers that fall under Biden’s sweeping order that companies with more than 100 workers require employees to be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing for the virus. However, they are also government contractors, who face a Dec. 8 deadline to enforce vaccination requirements — without the testing option,” the Associated Press explained.

American claims that about 2,000 flight attendants are returning to work starting as of tomorrow, with more to follow next month.

Watch a news report from CBS DFW embedded below which suggests that passenger rebooking didn’t go so well either.

Twitter users are reacting to the Posobiec tweet. Here is a sampling:

Robert Jonathan

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