Time To Spare? Go By Air
The federal government muscled the US airline industry into issuing vaccine mandates. Airlines capitulated on or around October 1, warning employees to take the vaccine or lose their jobs.
A week and a half later, flight schedules started coming unglued.
Uniformly, the excuses for flight delays started with weather, then on to scheduling difficulties, and oh by the way, staffing shortages.
Issues might have started in the Air Traffic Control center in Jacksonville, FL. There is no confirmation, whatsoever, that flight controllers failed to report to work, shutting down a key ATC center.
That rolled into a massive disruption of Southwest Airlines schedules. Thousands of flights were cancelled, costing the carrier $75 million, on top of another $40 million of COVID Delta variant losses. (That’s Delta, the virus not Delta the airline.)
Southwest explained that it had suffered a unique weather problem that no other carrier had experienced. And, it seems, the weather cleared up when Southwest postponed a program to sideline unvaccinated employees.
SkyWest was next up, disrupting its service to American, United, Alaska, and Delta. (Delta the airline, not Delta the virus.) Computer issues reportedly shut down service for five hours, causing 700 cancellations. Delays continued, while SkyWest tried to figure out how to match crews with aircraft.
And American Airlines closed out the month with 1,500 cancellations. AA may be experiencing its own unique weather patterns. High winds, they said. Under no circumstances is the vaccine mandate a factor. Both the airline and the Allied Pilots Association said so. The pilots observe that, again, crews and equipment aren’t being matched up, even though the weather is clear.
It appears that the company is now hiring.