Airlines Are Canceling Hundreds of Flights This Summer & You Can Blame the Travel Demand

Here's why your flight might be canceled...


One might think that after a year plus of virtually no travel, airlines would be ready for its return. Well, one would be wrong. American Airlines, Southwest, and more are floundering under the weight of increased demand, weather issues, and understaffing—resulting in thousands of disrupted travel plans as of late. 

Just last week, Southwest recorded three straight days of delays and cancellations, as well as a website outage. On Tuesday alone, 500 flights were affected by technical issues and over 400 trips were canceled Wednesday, with 1,630 more delayed, USA Today reports.

American Airlines has seen similar difficulties, and over the past week announced plans to slash 1,000 bookings on its July schedule in an effort to ease the current strain.

"We never want to disappoint and feel these schedule adjustments will help ensure we can take good care of our customers and team members and minimize surprises at the airport," American spokeswoman Andrea Koos said in a statement.

Though it might seem like a massive cut, according to the airline, it only amounts to about 1% of scheduled flights for the month. Flights were automatically rebooked for travelers. 

Staffing shortages are a driving factor in the airlines' woes. With a lack of pilots and crew members due to earlier layoffs and furloughs followed by the quick rise in demand, American and other airlines simply don't have the manpower yet and are playing catch up. Bad weather has only complicated the issue, USA Today adds. 

"The first few weeks of June have brought unprecedented weather to our largest hubs, heavily impacting our operation and causing delays, canceled flights, and disruptions to crewmember schedules and our customers' plans," a spokesperson for the airline told Travel + Leisure earlier this week. "That, combined with the labor shortages some of our vendors are contending with and the incredibly quick ramp-up of customer demand has led us to build in additional resilience and certainty to our operation by adjusting a fraction of our scheduled flying through mid-July."

While JetBlue has yet to report any massive cancellations, the carrier's site was down for hours following the announcement of its Fall Runway Sale Tuesday afternoon. According to CNN, Virgin Airlines, Southwest, and United suffered similar website outages last week.

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Megan Schaltegger is a staff writer at Thrillist.