Huge Spike in Canceled/Delayed Flights on American Airlines

The tip came from business travel expert and writer Joe Brancatelli: For the past few days, American Airlines has been experiencing a huge spike in delays and cancelations. Air travel expert Rick Seaney advises all American passengers to stay in close touch with the airline [Editor’s note: see his other suggestions below]. A look at the scope of the problem:

Listen as Rick Seaney explains who ends up paying for this big mess:

What to Do about Canceled/Delayed Flights

American Cancels/Delays Hundreds of Flights

A rundown of the latest figures from FlightStats as of 10:30am eastern time.

  • Monday, Sept. 17: 103 flights canceled, 759 delayed
  • Tuesday, Sept. 18: 29 flights canceled, 103 delayed*

*UPDATE Sept. 18: Total canceled flights for Tuesday, 50; total delayed flights, 666.

American gives no indication of anything amiss on its website but the news is starting to hit the blogosphere and there are reports that the airline, in the midst of bankruptcy cost-cutting measures, will reduce its flight schedule for the rest of September and October. Various explanations are being bandied about, but an airline rep is quoted as saying that they are “constantly evaluating our schedule based on operational and staffing resources.”

Record Fine Against American Airlines

Weather and Bankruptcy Politics

However, Brancatelli offers another view:

“American is blaming the weather (and it was a crummy weekend at its Dallas/Fort Worth hub), a higher than expected number of mechanicals and a spike in pilot retirements. But you can’t ignore this fact: On September 4, the airline’s bankruptcy-court judge permitted American management to abrogate the pilot’s labor contract. The airline’s house union, the APA, has denied any sick out or job action, of course. Because that would be illegal.” -Joe Brancatelli, Sept. 17, 2012

Advice to American Passengers

Advice from air travel expert Rick Seaney: “Travelers on American should stay in close contact with the airline, sign up for any and all alerts and use those mobile devices to stay connected. If booking connecting flights with the airline, be sure to leave plenty of time between flights in case of delays. If there are problems, do not delay; get in touch with the airline immediately. Elite flyers with access to a special ‘hotline’ should use it to full advantage.”


Published: September 18, 2012