United Airlines struggles to resolve flight disruptions

United Airlines struggled on Friday to recover from a week of flight delays and cancellations, testing the resilience of its operations as people head to airports ahead of the busy July 4 holiday.

The airline’s troubles began last weekend in the New York area. At the time, United blamed the disruption on thunderstorms and a lack of staffing at federal air traffic control facilities. Other airlines also suffered delays and cancellations at the time, but on Wednesday United’s problems stood out as they spread to operations across the country.

The situation seemed to improve somewhat on Thursday. After canceling about a quarter of its flights on Tuesday and Wednesday, United scrubbed about 1[ads1]8 percent of its schedule, according to FlightAware, a flight tracking firm. Still, the number of flights canceled by United on Thursday, more than 520, eclipsed cancellations by other airlines. SkyWest Airlines, which operates flights for United and several other major airlines, was second, canceling just over 100 flights.

The airline said it was closely monitoring the weather in Denver and Chicago, two of its hubs, and that it hoped to have fewer last-minute cancellations. As of mid-morning Friday, United had canceled more than 200 flights, or 7 percent of its schedule for the day, according to FlightAware. A further 280 flights were delayed.

“We continue to see significant improvement today following an overnight effort to further repair schedules and match separated crews with flights,” United said in a statement Thursday afternoon. “As recovery progresses, delays and cancellations will continue to decrease as we head into what we expect to be a very busy weekend.”

Pete Buttigieg, the transportation secretary, outed the airline on Twitter on Friday morning, noting that other carriers had recovered from bad weather earlier in the week.

The disruption comes during one of the busiest periods for air travel in several years. The Transportation Security Administration reported screening more than 2.7 million people at airport checkpoints Thursday, one of the busiest days since 2019. Only four other days have been busier since the pandemic began, all in recent weeks. AAA, the travel club, said it expected nearly 4.2 million people to fly this weekend, up 6.6 percent from 2019.

Throughout the week, United passengers have reported having to sleep in airports and stand in line for hours to rebook flights. Some travelers said they have had to wait days to collect their checked bags.

The disruptions have also frustrated pilots and flight attendants. Many have had to wait for hours to be reassigned after flights were cancelled. Some flight attendants also slept in airports, according to social media. The complaints by the airline’s employees echo those of flight attendants and pilots at Southwest Airlines during a much larger operational breakdown at that company around Christmas.

“Last weekend’s weather affected everyone, but United is the only airline still struggling to recover, and we know why,” said Ken Diaz, president of the United chapter of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, which represents more than 25,000 United flight attendants. in a statement Thursday. “United Management’s inability to staff crew planners, flight attendant support teams and more has exacerbated these operational issues, leaving passengers and flight attendants waiting for answers for hours at a time.”

Mr. Diaz said United had “lost” crews in the system for several days because of the breakdown. He also said that the union had warned management last year about problems that could contribute to more disruptions, but that the airline was “charging forward” with an ambitious flight schedule this summer. United used some of the union’s recommendations to get through the current disruption, including making schedule changes and agreeing to pay flight attendants three times their normal wages to pick up trips through July 6, Diaz said.

Pilots have expressed similar frustrations.

“It is United Airlines management that is failing our loyal customers by ignoring the warning signs and failing to plan properly,” said Capt. Garth Thompson, president of the United chapter of the Air Line Pilots Association, which represents more than 15,000 of the airline’s members. pilots, said in a statement.

Source link

Back to top button

mahjong slot