Mass U.S. Flight Cancellations Could Continue Into the Summer

Flight cancellations only continued into the week after a brutal travel weekend.

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Last weekend, JetBlue and Spirit Airlines canceled a collective 554 flights, citing staffing shortages, bad weather, and air traffic control issues. Now, experts warn that these travel snafus might not let up until at least summer. 

The cancellations only continued into the week, with 270 flights nixed on Monday alone, FlightAware reports. JetBlue continued to blame weather and staffing shortages, as did Alaska Airlines. As the industry only continues to pick up speed, carriers are struggling to sustain a steady service.

"Now we're at the point where the bubble has burst, and maybe the airlines and hotels weren't quite ready for it," Travel Industry Analyst for UpgradedPoints.com Jamie Larounis told The Washington Post. But it's not that airlines weren't expecting the uptick in demand. Instead, they're unable to hire enough staffing, which, in turn, has also caused higher pricing for travelers too.

"Domestic leisure travel is going to hit new records, definitely over the next few months of spring and summer—probably already happening right now," Colin Scarola at CFRA Research told Marketplace.com.

And in the wake of these cancellations and delays, airlines don't even have the customer service bandwidth to handle the issues properly. 

"Airlines let go far too many of their trained reservation staff and airport employees during COVID, and even the folks who took unpaid leaves of absence may have simply said, 'You know, I found another job that is less stressful, that pays more, or both,'" Henry Harteveldt, a travel analyst, told The Post

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Megan Schaltegger is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist.