Did you miss a flight recently because of airport or airline disruptions?
On Sunday, more than 1,000 passengers at Dublin airport missed flights due to queues and a lack of airport staff.
US airlines cancelled more than 2,500 flights alone over the four-day Memorial Day holiday due to staff shortages.
What gives? Is this the "new normal" of flying, or will the airline industry hire more staff to cope with increasing passenger numbers?
NOBODY has been able to hire all the people they need. Why should the airlines be any different? The workforce changed during the pandemic and isn't going to go back to what it was any time soon. The airlines will have to manage by raising prices to cut demand instead of adding flights they can't staff in an attempt to meet demand. And that will have people screaming and governments investigating. I almost feel sorry for the airlines!
I think it's three-fold. Airline staff, airline contractor staff (e.g. bag handling, if they outsource it), and airport staff (e.g. security, check-in, etc.) All these moving parts need to be co-ordinated. Even if airlines have all the staff they need, they can be let down by other parts of the system. But it's clearly a failure of the system, playing out right in front of customers on a regular basis.
It's a passing phenomenon, like any other. People fixate on the present and think it's permanent (also, the self-refuting definition of "relevant"). Where there's demand, there will be supply in good time. Simple laws of the marketplace. The actual challenge in my part of the globe is how so-called "discretionary" income is shrinking in the face of unparalleled inflation for the middle classes, meaning all the so-called "pent-up demand" will fade away once the pent-upness gives way to the reality of no budget for leisure travel anymore.
A couple of interesting links for those following the news:
1. A map of US-based flight cancellations, courtesy of Flightaware:
2. A great TikTok roast of Dublin Airport (thanks @okev for the tip off!):
Sadly the airlines cannot keep up with demand. As a travel advisor, I see airfare going up and up but how can I ask my client to pay those prices when I also tell them to "keep in mind flying is not predictable, you have to expect to not get to your destination as booked and you have to realize you may have to extend your time away by a day just to get home" "Mentally prepare yourself for delays and cancellations" The reason I prepare my clients the way I do is so when there is a delay or cancellation, they can adapt (or call me) and not get angry and make matters worse.
In June of 2021, it took our family of 3, 36 hours to fly from Reno, NV to Daytona Beach, FL! After arriving at 5am, we ended up having to sit in an airport for hours after we were to board before we were told the flight was cancelled, flew to another city to miss that connection, stayed overnight in TX and had to fly out of CLT (5am) to sprint to our connecting flight to get home. Once we got on the last leg we were verbally accosted by passengers who were upset because they thought the plane was waiting for us.
I want to also note that part of the problem is the airlines having trouble keeping employees because of their customers. I had a good conversation with an airline employee and they have had people just walk off the job because of the rudeness of people they had to deal with.
Wow, in 36 hours you could have flown to Sydney and had time for a swim at Bondi beach! A friend of mine works check-in at a well known airport in Germany, and told me that passengers are abusive because of delays and cancellations. Airport employees are burned out because they are working longer hours due to less availability of staff.
Latest update on the Dublin situation is interesting. The airport authority will now only admit those arriving within 2.5 hours for a short-haul (3.5 for long-haul) into the airport building (a "holding area" outdoors will be set up for others).
The anxiety of arriving and confronting a queue that would cause you to miss your flight — in theory — seems to be exaggerating the situation.
I had a great experience at Pearson International in April 2022 going to Louisiana. Flight to and from was great, but it may have been timing. I have had several friends have really bad experiences in Toronto.
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