Air Travel Nightmare Continues: Southwest Airlines Pilots Protest ‘Company’s Antiquated and Inefficient Scheduling Practices’
It appears air travel Armageddon is here to stay…likely until sometime after 2024.
I recently noted that Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg proposed forcing airlines to hire more staff in the wake of complete chaos that has been described as air travel Armageddon.
More than 1,300 Southwest Airlines pilots protested the carrier at Dallas Love Field amid tense contract negotiations.
The union representing 8,300 pilots at Dallas-based Southwest Airlines said the company’s antiquated and inefficient scheduling practices are making life hard on aviators and creating more delays and cancellations.
There were enough Southwest pilots to make a line of sign-holders in front of the entire terminal, with another group inside near ticketing, one on the road leading into the airport and another along Mockingbird Lane outside the airport.
“Our point is that you have enough pilots today to operate the airline,” said Southwest Airlines Pilots Association president Casey Murray. “The problem is you’re misusing them.”
Murray said the company’s pilot scheduling practices puts the carrier at risk for more cancellations and delays during peak summer travel months and busy weekends such as the upcoming Independence Day holiday.
Many pilots are canceling their shifts due to fatigue, and blaming it on erratic schedules from delays and cancellations.
At the protest on Tuesday, Murray said he wants passengers to know that the pilots stand with them during this travel frenzy following the COVID pandemic.
‘We’re tired of saying “I’m sorry” at every flight,’ he said at the demonstration, according to KDFW.
But, he said, pilots are feeling overworked to meet the never-ending travel demand amid the staff shortages.
‘Our pilots have lost over the last year almost 20,000 days off, which is over 50 years that our pilots have lost – involuntarily being made to fly on off days,’ he told NBC DFW. ‘And again, fatigue is cumulative.
‘So it adds up and the more flying that there is that has to be covered.’
Southwest isn’t the only airline with staffing issues. American Airlines is canceling routes in the wake of its staffing shortage…including the important city of Ithaca, NY.
American Airlines will eliminate service for three cities following the Labor Day holiday weekend as a result of staffing shortages, marking the latest hiccup for the airline industry amid thousands of cancellations and cuts in recent months.
An airline spokesperson said the company will drop service to Toledo, Ohio; Ithaca, N.Y.; and Islip, N.Y., on Sept. 7 in response to a “regional pilot shortage.”
“We’re extremely grateful for the care and service our team members provided to our customers in Islip, Ithaca and Toledo, and are working closely with them during this time,” the spokesperson said in an email to The Hill. “We’ll proactively reach out to customers scheduled to travel after this date to offer alternate arrangements.”
It appears air travel Armageddon is here to stay…likely until sometime after 2024.DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.