DALLAS - American Airlines was still working Monday evening to get stranded passengers to their destinations after thousands of weekend flight cancelations.
American canceled more than 300 flights Monday, about 10 percent of its usual schedule. But that was a big improvement over the weekend.
The abnormally high number of cancellations and delays for American began on Thursday and escalated quickly. By Sunday, the airline had cancelled 35% of its schedule, which is nearly 2,000 flights. It affected hundreds of thousands of American Airlines of passengers across the United States.
American said severe winds in North Texas late last week caused the initial problem and since then the carrier’s been playing catch up. It also said staffing has been tight.
Monday was mostly spent playing catchup for the airline and its stranded passengers.
"We got here yesterday to find out our flight was canceled and the only available option was to fly today," said passenger Greg Roland.
"Woke up, got here, found out my flight had been canceled until 6 p.m.," said passenger Cordell White.
Some passengers, like a family from Oregon FOX4 spoke with at DFW, having been living in limbo since Saturday.
"We ended up having to pay for our own hotel room, did not get a voucher," said passenger Danielle Wise.
The Allied Pilots Association, which represents American Airlines pilots, says the company isn't addressing what it calls "preventable logistical issues."
The Association of Professional Flight Attendants issued a statement on Monday, saying:
"Flight Attendant staffing at American remains strained and reflects what is happening across the industry as we continue to deal with pandemic-related issues. Flight Attendant schedules are being disrupted to protect the operation to help our customers make it to their destinations."
Dr. Erin Bowen is an aviation psychology researcher at the University of Texas at Arlington. She expects these types of problems to go on for some time.
"I try to tell everyone in this type of situation, you know, both the passengers and the airlines and the employees, is to take that deep breath and have a little bit of patience because this is such a complex system, this isn't a simple problem. And that means it doesn't have a simple one off solution," Bowen said.
American Airlines says about 1,800 flight attendants are returning from leave soon, and it expects to hire at least 600 more by year end. American also says it's hiring pilots and reservations agents to gear up for the holidays.
Meanwhile, Southwest Airlines is also still catching up from the wind-related cancelations that began late last week. The Dallas-based carrier canceled more than 70 flights Monday. Since Friday, more than 1,000 Southwest flights have been canceled.