American Airlines is the latest airline to announce cuts to its flight schedule — mostly from its Philadelphia hub — even as demand for flights continues to surge.
American, like many other airlines, downsized earlier in the pandemic and is now struggling to keep its operations running smoothly.
“American has taken steps to size our airline for available resources and to build additional buffers into the remainder of our summer flight schedule. Over the past month, American has taken proactive steps to make our schedule more resilient by reducing overall system capacity by approximately 2% in September,” the company said in a statement. “These adjustments were made in markets with multiple frequencies – with the aim of moving customers to different flights.”
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According to American, hundreds of flights at its Philadelphia hub will be canceled in the coming months — about 3% of its schedule there in September, or about 7 flights per day, and 5% of its schedule there in October, or about 13 flights per day.
The airline said it will be contacting customers whose flights are affected to make alternative arrangements. Customers who choose not to travel on a new itinerary may be eligible for a refund.
Other airlines are making cuts
American is hardly the only one to have to reduce its air travel this summer.
In June, United Airlines announced it would be cutting 12% of its Newark flights this summer, canceling about 50 daily departures beginning July 1.
JetBlue also cut its flight schedule by about 10% this summer, and Delta made a “strategic reduction” in air travel, canceling about 100 flights a day from July 1 through August 7.
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American Airlines previously announced it would be suspending service from its regional partners to four cities (Islip and Ithaca, New York; Toledo, Ohio and Dubuque, Iowa) in September, citing a shortage of available pilots.
European airports are also struggling
Again this summer, the travel woes aren’t limited to America’s skies.
Long queues and canceled flights have confronted passengers across Europe, and major airports such as London’s Heathrow and Amsterdam’s Schiphol announced caps on departing passengers throughout the summer. In fact, Schiphol said on Wednesday it would extend those limits into October.
What passengers are entitled to when their flights are changed
Passengers whose flights are canceled are generally eligible for a refund in the US, but the guidelines are less clear when flights are delayed. The Department of Transportation technically requires airlines to compensate passengers who experience a “substantial” delay, but has yet to define how long a delay must be to be considered significant.
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However, the department said on Wednesday that it is asking for input from the public to clarify rules on airline compensation and make it easier for passengers to make claims and get refunds if their travel is disrupted.