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American Airlines Blames Weather, Staffing Shortages For Cancellations & Delays; Transport Workers Union Cites Other Issues

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - Fort Worth-based American Airlines said storms at its large DFW and Charlotte hubs this month have caused about 950 flight cancellations throughout its entire system.

The airline said staffing shortages at its vendors have also contributed to the problem as the airline has increased the number of flights to satisfy customer demand now that the COVID-19 pandemic has eased.

Josh Burgess said when he arrived at DFW International Airport from Boston a couple of days ago, he found out, his bag was mistakenly transferred from his plane to one bound for Orlando instead of being sent to the terminal. "It's inconvenient."

He said he's noticed differences as the airline has tried to get back to a normal flying schedule. "It's like things are getting a lot more expensive and you're not getting quite as much for it."

American has been more aggressive in adding flights to its schedule and has a 20 percent higher flight schedule than competitors Delta and United.

American said to try to give its schedule more breathing room, it has cut one percent of its flight schedule through mid-July -- about 72 of its nearly 5,700 daily departures.

In a statement, the airline said, "...We made targeted changes with the goal of impacting the fewest number of customers by adjusting flights in markets where we have multiple options for re-accommodation..."

But Greg Cosey, the President of the Transport Workers Union, Local 513, said the airline hasn't added enough employees to handle all of its flights.

He said one solution is to move its part-time employees to full-time.

Cosey also cited the airline's staffing model at DFW and other airports for contributing to delays.

His union's members handle airline baggage and bring planes in and out of the gates.

Cosey said, "I have 33 years with American Airlines, never seen it this bad. It's very disorganized, very chaotic."

He said after American's staffing model changed in 2019, the TWU crews became responsible for flights at various gates, instead of just one.

Sometimes, Cosey said there aren't enough crews to unload an arriving plane. "Too many moving parts. It's a very fluid operation. And it's almost impossible to move people to the airplanes. We have to be, in our experience at DFW, you need to be stationary and you move flights to crews. It isn't our fault."

But American Airlines said its staffing model at airports has nothing to do with the delays.

As for Josh Burgess, he said he's relieved he finally got his bag back. "I couldn't be happier."

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