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High travel interest and employee shortages create airline obstacles

Updated: Jun. 21, 2021 at 8:57 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Increased interest in people traveling and a shortage of staff is causing hundreds of American Airlines flights to be canceled through mid-July.

To minimize impact at a specific airport, American Airlines reports there will be a bigger effect in Dallas-Fort Worth, which is an American Airlines hub. The company is anticipating 50 to 80 flight cancelations per day going forward, according to a spokesperson.

Terrie Dean, the co-owner of the Wishing Well in Harrisonburg, said the ramp-up of people’s interest in travel happened a whole lot quicker than airlines were prepared for.

“It’s been enormously busy,” Dean said. “We’re happy to see these doors open back up again to the world because that means great things for us, but impacting this industry are all the other challenges that we’re facing. We’re having to realize new ways to work around these things.”

While Wishing Well clients have not had their flights canceled, Dean said many have been rescheduled.

It looks like this problem could hang around. She said it’s not just airlines that are being impacted by staffing shortages, but cruise lines and hotels too. Dean said it’s just another obstacle the travel industry is having to maneuver.

“We do know that these cancelations are going to ramp up and probably be a part of what we deal with between now and the mid-July period,” Dean said. “Add to that some seasonal operational issues, because of storms, it’s going to make for a very interesting summer.”

To minimize your risks if you are planning a vacation, Dean said that booking your flights in a travel package or through reputable travel sources can help protect you in uncertain times.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reported that it saw record high post-pandemic travelers go through the screening process on June 20. Over 2.1 million travelers were screened at security across the country.

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