Remember the American put 10,000 employees on leave during the pandemic. Many did not return, so the airline was already understaffed. Two-thirds of US flights canceled on Sunday were because there were not enough flight attendants. The rest was due to too few pilots.
But US leaders say help is on the way. Eighteen hundred flight attendants on leave during the pandemic are returning and 600 new hires will begin by the end of the year.
But will that be enough to make your next vacation trip a little easier? Probably not. U.S. pilots warn crew shortages will be much worse if and when the federal vaccine mandate goes into effect.
This is being picked up by unions from other airlines and would make Southwest’s problems worse. Remember the massive airline collapse last month when cancellations and delays stranded tens of thousands of people from the West Coast?
In August, United Airlines demanded that its employees get vaccinated, but some are resisting and have taken United to court.
Meanwhile, some vaccinated pilots say they won’t fly with unvaccinated colleagues
So what does all of this mean to you and me?
Here’s Deanna’s to-do list:
- Book your flight now. Not only because flights will get more expensive over time, but also because you can’t guarantee that you will even be able to get a seat if you wait.
- Take extra masks. Planes, trains and buses all need it.
- Prepare to pay. According to Kayak, ticket prices are even up from 2019 prices.
- Know the COVID restrictions along your route. It is a necessity if you are traveling a long distance by car. AAA has created a handy map of America’s dandy COVID restrictions.
- Pack snacks in your hand luggage. Food service may be limited on flights. And you don’t want to be stuck 30,000 feet away with hungry kids.
- Think about travel insurance. When you consider the cost of insurance, ask yourself how much you are willing to lose. If the trip is expensive, insurance is worth it Many now cover COVID-related cancellations, but none cover the fear of catching COVID as a reason for cancellation. If the virus is spreading and you may not want to fly, you may want to consider âcancellation for any reasonâ insurance. Forbes magazine has compiled a list of travel insurance policies.
- Above all, buckle up. Holiday travel forecasts point to turbulence ahead.