TAMPA — American Airlines canceled a slew of flights over the weekend, including three at Tampa International Airport as of Monday.
More than 300 flights were canceled from Saturday to Monday, according to Bloomberg News, as the airline struggled with a combination of severe weather, employee shortages and increased flight reservations. More flights are expected to be affected into the first half of July, accounting for about 1 percent of the airline’s operations, spokesperson Andrew Trull said.
But for those traveling through Tampa International Airport, the scheduling issues will likely be minimal and announced some time in advance, according to airport spokesperson Emily Nipps.
“We’re not worried about people showing up at the airport and suddenly finding out their flights are canceled,” she said.
American Airlines, which is the second-largest carrier at Tampa International, had about 35 flights scheduled for Monday. Three of those were canceled, Nipps said, one of which was “proactively” canceled, according to Trull. These weren’t particularly unusual, Nipps said, as summer storms and weather typically bring a handful of cancellations.
Airlines across the country are adjusting as travelers return to the skies following the COVID-19 vaccine roll outs. Tampa International Airport had 1.7 million passengers in May, about 271,000 of which were from American Airlines. The airport also announced several new flights recently, including a new carrier with six nonstop destinations from Tampa International.
Spokesperson Trull said American Airlines has “ramped up quickly to meet the surge in demand,” but severe weather in cities such as Dallas and in Charlotte, North Carolina, pushed the company to readjust its schedule.
“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,” he said in an email.
Severe weather can have a domino effect on flights. When a plane is grounded for an extended period of time, its crew may run up against the amount of time they are legally allowed to work, which requires more staffing. Delayed flights affect connections and later flights that plane is scheduled to take.
“While we have reserves, bad weather can quickly cause us to exhaust these additional crew resources,” he said.