Staffing shortages trigger another weekend of travel woes


(NewsNation) — It’s another weekend of travel woes as the airline industry finds itself once again grappling with staffing shortages amid a surge in travel demand.

“There’s no wiggle room in anyone’s staffing list if something goes wrong,” said Clint Henderson, senior news editor at The Points Guy. “The whole house of cards comes crumbling down.”

Boston-based JetBlue airlines was hit the hardest this go-round.

On Saturday, the carrier canceled 191 flights, roughly 18% of its schedule, according to the online tracker FlightAware. And nearly half of its flights — 479 in total — had delays.

It was a similar scenario Sunday as by 4:30 p.m. EDT, Jetblue had already canceled 145 flights and delayed 345 others, according to FlightAware.

Last week, Jetblue announced a $1,000 bonus for flight attendants who don’t call out from work through the end of May. An extra $100 was offered for filling in on open flights.

Now the carrier taking it a step further, saying it’s trimming its summer schedule by as much as 10% to avoid further travel disruptions.

The move comes on the heels of Alaska Airlines announcing a similar measure. The Seattle-based carrier is canceling 2% of its flights through the end of June due to a pilot shortage.

Spirit Airlines is also dealing with issues this weekend, leaving many of its passengers struggling to reach their final destinations.

“It’s so interesting because the two of the biggest problems this weekend have been JetBlue and Spirit and Jetblue just offered to buy Spirit,” Henderson said. “So it’s kind of ironic that this is happening now.”

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