With the success of the COVID-19 vaccine, people are flying at near pre-pandemic levels. Airline staff is struggling to meet demand.
CLEVELAND — The airline industry is dealing with flight cut-backs and cancellations, with the 4th of July holiday less than 2 weeks away. It’s all due to a shortage of workers to service the increased number of people flying.
“You’ll see a lot of flight delays and cancellations, long lines. If you fly often, you might be used to it, but first time travelers – or not-so-frequent travelers – are really feeling the pain,” says Roxanne Grewal, owner of Destination Luxe travel agency.
Airlines cut thousands of jobs last year at the height of COVID, and many of the positions remain unfilled. American Airlines was forced to cancel more than 300 flights over the weekend – with plans to cancel dozens more per day, through July, because of staff shortages.
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“Cleveland Hopkins is busy. I think a lot of people aren’t expecting the true volume of travelers. People think you can do like the old days, get to the airport right before your flight, but it’s busy,” says Grewal.
2 million passengers now pass through US airports every day – almost as many as pre-pandemic levels, which were between 2.4 and 2.6 million.
Grewal offered some tips for flying in this new normal:
1. Make sure you’re signed up for alerts with your airline – You can find out about cancellations and other flight changes immediately.
2. Download the airline app – You can be in charge of your reservation, even on the go.
3. Consider travel insurance – It’ll be big help if you have a flight delay or cancellation, need a rental car, or you need to change your travel plans.
4. Read the terms and conditions – Know what airlines are supposed to do for you and what they’re legally obligated to do, if something happens with your flight.