SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — American Airlines canceled or delayed multiple local flights Sunday due to weather and staffing issues, officials said.
The San Diego International Airport's flight departure and arrivals website showed nine AA flights canceled as of Sunday evening.
Henry Harteveldt is an air travel analyst in California that studies travel patterns.
“It’s a function of this bad weather occurring at the end of the month," said Harteveldt.
By late Sunday, American had canceled 1,022 flights – 36% of its schedule for the day, according to tracking service FlightAware. The airline canceled more than 1,900 flights total this weekend across the country. The airline also attributed the challenges to weather in Texas.
"This week saw two days of severe winds in DFW (Dallas Fort-Worth), with gusts of up to 50 mph on Thursday, creating crosswind limitations that sharply reduced arrival capacity by more than half," David Seymour, American's chief operating officer, wrote in a letter to team members on Saturday.
"This weather drove a large number of cancellations at DFW, as we could only use two runways instead of the usual five that handle our operation. With additional weather throughout the system, our staffing begins to run tight as crew members end up out of their regular flight sequences. To make sure we are taking care of our customers and providing scheduling certainty for our crews, we have adjusted our operation for the last few days this month by proactively canceling some flights.
"We are taking this measure to minimize any inconvenience as much as possible. Most of the customers impacted by these changes are being rebooked the same day, and we apologize for having to make these changes.
"... The good news moving forward is that we continue to staff up across our entire operation and we will see more of our team returning in the coming months," the letter continued. "Specifically, for flight attendants, we have nearly 1,800 returning from leave starting Nov. 1 and the remainder coming back by Dec. 1. They also say they will have 600+ new hire flight attendants on property by end of December. Additionally, hiring for our airports is well underway and we anticipate 4,000 new team members joining us across the system in the fourth quarter."
It's not just the bad weather, but the timing of it. Flight crews have a certain amount of hours they can lawfully work per month for safety reasons, meaning sometimes, airlines are short-staffed at the end of the month. Halloween, of course, falls on the last day of October.
Of course, the upcoming Thanksgiving travel surge isn't far away. Thanksgiving also falls near the end of the month, so airport officials recommend people come early and come prepared.
”We are planning on having a busy holiday season," said a spokesperson for San Diego International.