Saturday, November 27, 2021
HomeAirlinesAmerican AirlinesThe holidays are here: Air travel queues up for biggest challenge yet

The holidays are here: Air travel queues up for biggest challenge yet

Airlines are braced for their biggest test since the summer.

Back-to-back travel surges in the final weeks of November and December will hit as the travel industry hurries to scale up operations after mass layoffs and financial losses.

But U.S. consumers aren’t deterred by operational headaches for travel and hospitality businesses. 

Holiday travel projections show that this season will be similar to 2019 levels. 

Nashville’s panache makes it a prime destination for travelers. 

If the messy Halloween and fall-break travel surges in October are any indication, thousands of U.S. flights could be delayed and canceled if workers call out sick in large numbers or weather is bad.

The persistent nationwide worker shortage is the biggest challenge for companies who didn’t maintain their full workforce during the pandemic. 

“We started the year with nearly 8,000 flight attendants on furlough and an uncertain outlook,” said Brady Byrnes, vice president of American Airlines flight service. “Fast forward a few months, and the landscape has changed dramatically. We are doubling down on our efforts on staffing and schedule.”

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Airlines are encouraging workers with bonuses and pay raises, and are making more flexible schedules in preparation.

American Airlines flight attendants who work shifts from Nov. 23 to Nov. 29, and Dec. 22 to Jan. 2, can receive a 150% “one-time special holiday pay premium.” Holiday workers with perfect attendance can take home 300% their normal pay. 

‘Very busy’ 

Available airplane capacity is just one of the challenges travelers are up against. Concessions at airports are still rebuilding after business came to a near standstill in 2020. 

On busy days, lines at airport food and beverage operators could be too long for those looking to grab food quickly. 

The mismatch between demand…

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