Travel chaos is unfolding across US airports as American Airlines Group Inc. and Spirit Airlines Inc canceled hundreds of flights Tuesday, the third consecutive day of cancellations following "concerns that crew shortages are adding to problems that initially were caused by weather and technology issues," according to Bloomberg.
FlightAware's flight tracker website showed that at least 800 flights were canceled into or out of the US on Tuesday afternoon. American canceled 288 flights, or about 9% of its schedule today, 563 Monday flights, and 300 Sunday flights. Spirit canceled 347 flights, or about 50% of all flights Tuesday, after canceling 42% of its Monday flights due to weather and what eventually transpired into "operational challenges."
We are experiencing operational challenges in some areas of our network. Before going to the airport, check your email and current flight status here: https://t.co/yuPJDPxeNu. The fastest way to receive assistance is to visit our webchat: https://t.co/QnlZcUCMtk. pic.twitter.com/E176h8KHjN— Spirit Airlines (@SpiritAirlines) August 2, 2021
Internet search trends for "flight canceled" spiked on Monday and Tuesday. The most common search query was "spirit cancelled flights." These searches were seen across dozens of states.
Frustrated travelers tweeted horror stories of their experiences over the last few days. Some said there were no re-booking options, stranding them at airports for multiple days.
We're on day 2 of @AmericanAir cancelling my flight home with two toddlers, no re-booking options (refusal to book on a sister airline even though there were plenty of flights yesterday), no support for at least 2 extra nights in hotel, & over a 4 hour wait time on the phone...— Emily Huffman (@emhuffman) August 3, 2021
People had to sleep in the airport. Some of us got $7 meal vouchers that ended the next day. Calling customer service. They hang up. Hella people stranded and can’t get home in PR @SpiritAirlines WHERE IS OUR MONEY pic.twitter.com/TjOStUe7uZ— La’Mayah 💁🏾♀️ (@SimpliiMee_) August 3, 2021
Others blamed staffing shortages.
'They got our luggage, our money and there's no airline staff here': Furious travelers blast Spirit and American for canceling 670 flights as airport chaos enters THIRD day— Lilian Chan (@bestgug) August 3, 2021
Spirit canceled 400 on Sunday and Monday, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale were hard hit pic.twitter.com/25PDr3o3DX
Line for @SpiritAirlines at LAX now out the door after the airline cancels 400+ flights; blaming bad weather + staff shortages.— Gigi Graciette (@GigiGraciette) August 3, 2021
Domino effect of delays and cancellations could take days to resolve. @foxla pic.twitter.com/CX9eN567HD
American's pilot's union told USA Today the airline "can't keep blaming flight cancellations on the weather" as staffing shortages disrupt hundreds of flights and leave thousands of travelers stranded at airports Tuesday.