Returning to a sense of “normalcy” following the COVID-19 pandemic also meant a return to a favorite national pastime—travel. But those who love to sightsee and visit new destinations are being met with constant cancellations and delays lately, as the airline industry works to keep up with the renewed demand for air travel. Now, carriers are making strategic cuts to try to alleviate some of the strain. American Airlines is the latest to announce that it would be dropping three U.S. cities from its flight plans. Read on to find out which cities—and routes—will be nixed, as of Sept. 7.
Airlines are struggling to keep up, and over Memorial Day Weekend, travelers felt the strain with nearly 3,000 flights canceled, NPR reported. American Airlines was one of these carriers, canceling almost 200 flights over the holiday weekend.
Aside from isolated cancellations, the airline has also set plans in motion to eliminate certain routes altogether. In May, American Airlines confirmed it would be cutting flight routes in an internal memo outlining updates to international routes, The Points Guy (TPG) reported. Three routes are getting the ax this fall, starting Nov. 3, including one route from Dallas, Texas, to Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima, Peru; and two Colombian routes from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York City: Medellin and Cali. Additionally, service from Seattle to Bangalore, India was set to return for the first time since 2012, but was postponed once again, the TPG said.
“Reduced demand” was cited as the primary reason for the international cancellations, while the war between Russia and Ukraine was noted as the reason for holding off on reinstating the Seattle-Bangalore route. Now, American Airlines is pointing to another reason for the new cuts.
If you live in New York or Ohio, you might need to reconfigure your travel plans. Starting Sept. 7, American Airlines will no longer be flying to Islip, New York (ISP); Ithaca, New York (ITH); and Toledo, Ohio (TOL). And while the airline industry is facing a slew of issues, the primary reason for these cuts is the regional pilot shortage, according to a statement from a spokesperson to TPG.
“In response to the regional pilot shortage affecting the airline industry, American Airlines has made the difficult decision to end service in Islip and Ithaca, New York, and Toledo, Ohio, effective Sept. 7,” the airline said.
“We’re extremely grateful for the care and service our team members provided to our customers in Islip, Ithaca and Toledo, and are working closely with them during this time. We’ll proactively reach out to customers scheduled to travel after this date to offer alternate arrangements,” the spokesperson added.
The airline is also pulling back on other flight routes, TPG reported. As of Sept. 7, the airline will drop service from Charlotte, North Carolina (CLT), to Alexandria, Louisiana (AEX), and service from Chicago, Illinois (ORD) to both Ontario, California (ONT), and Saint Lucia (UVF). The cuts were first noted in Cirium schedules, TPG said, and later confirmed by the airline.
Making matters even more complicated, two more flight routes have been paused for the winter 2022 season, and another three routes have been suspended without a restart date in sight.
As part of the suspension, you will no longer be able to fly from Charlotte to El Paso, Texas (ELP) or Sioux Falls, South Dakota (FSD), nor will you be able to fly from Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas (DFW) to San Pedro Sula, Honduras (SAP), according to TPG. This pause is “temporary,” but without a clear restart date, it’s hard to tell when you’ll be able to book tickets to and from.
Looking to plan a winter getaway? Be aware that you won’t be able to fly from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (PHL) to sunny Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (SDQ), or Santiago, Dominican Republic (STI) during the colder months.
Unfortunately, the pilot shortage and subsequent scheduling difficulties are not isolated to American Airlines, and other carriers are feeling the pressure.
In May, Delta Air Lines confirmed it would be cutting hundreds of flights of daily flights due to staffing shortages. According to a May 25 memo obtained by TPG, the airline has plans to continue “thinning the schedule” through the month of June. JetBlue also announced in May that it would be nixing 20 routes for parts of the summer, in an effort to build in some wiggle room for cancellations.
American’s cuts are just the latest to be reported, but if you need to fly to Islip or Ithaca, rest assured you can still get from Point A to Point B. Southwest, Frontier, and Breeze airlines still serve Islip, and Delta Connection and United Express serve Ithaca, according to TPG. Toledo makes things a bit more complicated, as Allegiant Air, a budget airline, is now the only carrier serving the Ohio airport.
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