American Airlines cites staff shortages, weather for delays

The nationwide weekend problems for American Airlines passengers continued into Monday and some worry the issues will continue over the holiday travel season.

Monday evening,  Bruce and Lynne Dore were waiting for their luggage at the American Airlines baggage claim at Philadelphia International Airport. Although the Montgomery County couple nor their six suitcases ever left the ground. 

"Our flight was scheduled for 4pmthey postponed it twice saying the plane had already taken off from Miami was on the way here. And all the sudden they announced the flight was canceled," said Lynne Dore.

They should have been back at their second home in Naples Florida tonight. American Airlines had different plans.

The Dore’s flight to Fort Myers was one of more than 1700 flights across American Airlines system canceled this weekend. Many more were delayed and left passengers frustrated.

"The people in there working is like a three-ring circus," said Bruce Dore.

American Airlines is blaming weather and staffing issues. In an email to passengers, the airline expects "considerable improvement beginning today with some residual impact from the weekend," said American Airlines Chief Customer Officer Alison Taylor.

It was clear at Philadelphia International the ripple effect continued.

Denisha Dixon Bay’s birthday weekend in Atlanta ended on a sour note. The Voorhees resident arrived home six hours late after her flight was delayed 4 times.

"We were supposed to get to Philadelphia by 12. We are coming from Atlanta. How late? Too late," said Dixon Bay.

Travel experts say the problems surrounding American Airlines this weekend may be a sign of things to come for the holiday travel season.

"I feel airline travel is almost making you pull your hair out with frustration," said Maureen Rennie of A Premier Travel Agency in Springfield, Delaware County.

Rennie says travelers should pack their patience when traveling by air. Expect fewer and fuller flights as airlines try to maximize profits.

"There are people ready to travel and willing to travel and once you get there it’s wonderful. There is just not enough flights or staff taking care of everything" said Rennie.

After their flight was canceled the Dore’s found out the next available flight to Florida was on Wednesday. So they decided they’re not flying after all. They’re now driving to Ft. Myers and plan to be on the road Monday evening. "As soon as I get back to my house and pack the car," said Bruce Dore.

According to Flight Aware, there were 48 flight delays out of Philadelphia International Airport and 17 cancellations.

In addressing the recent issues American Airlines also says today, nearly 1,800 flight attendants are returning from leave. On Dec. 1, the remainder of flight attendants on leave will return. The airline says it’s also hired hundreds of reservation agents over the past several months to be in place for the holiday season.



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