ORLANDO, Fla. - American Airlines is working to get operations back on track after canceling hundreds of flights across the country over the weekend.
FOX 35’s Nestor Mato is at Orlando International Airport and has already seen at least 10 American flights canceled through 12 p.m. Monday.
American Airlines said that they expect things to be much better on Monday though. However, there is a rush to recover from all the weekend cancellations. At Orlando International Airport alone, there were over 40 American flights canceled. Nationally, the airline canceled hundreds of flights.
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"It’s frustrating when it seems like a lot of it could have been taken care of and it seems like pre-planning could have taken care of a lot of this," Erich Sommerfeldt, a traveler whose flight was canceled, told FOX 35.
The airline is reportedly blaming weather and staffing shortages for the cancellations. They plan to ramp up staffing in the coming months to improve things before the holiday season kicks up. They said that they expect to hire 4,000 airport personnel by the end of the year.
They released a statement on Monday that read:
"We continue to welcome back more and more customers as travel returns, and our team has done an incredible job delivering day in and day out.
"Of course, not every moment has been easy and these few days to close out October will be challenging. This week saw two days of severe winds in DFW, with gusts of up to 50 mph on Thursday, creating crosswind limitations that sharply reduced arrival capacity by more than half. This weather drove a large number of cancellations at DFW, as we could only use two runways instead of the usual five that handle our operation.
"With additional weather throughout the system, our staffing begins to run tight as crew members end up out of their regular flight sequences. To make sure we are taking care of our customers and providing scheduling certainty for our crews, we have adjusted our operation for the last few days this month by proactively canceling some flights. We are taking this measure to minimize any inconvenience as much as possible. Most of the customers impacted by these changes are being rebooked the same day, and we apologize for having to make these changes.
"Our team members are continuing to take great care of our customers and we anticipate getting through this brief irregular ops period quickly with the start of a new month.
"The good news moving forward is that we continue to staff up across our entire operation and we will see more of our team returning in the coming months. Specifically, for flight attendants we have nearly 1,800 returning from leave starting Nov. 1 — and the remainder coming back by Dec. 1 — and will have 600+ new hire flight attendants on property by end of December. Additionally, hiring for our Airports is well underway and we anticipate 4,000 new team members joining us across the system in the fourth quarter. The hiring of pilots and within Tech Ops continues to take place, and we already began ramping up hiring in Reservations so more team members will be in place for the holiday season.
"Our team is extraordinarily resilient, and we cannot thank each and every team member enough for all you are doing to take care of our customers as well as each other."
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