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Time is running out for more than two dozen American Airlines flights.
The carrier will be removing 27 flights from its network—the majority of which are to and from New York. Some Canada and Costa Rica flights are also on the chopping block, as is some domestic service between smaller hubs.
After United Airlines earlier this month announced a slew of service cuts to smaller airports throughout the country, American Airlines over the weekend adjusted its flight schedule to eliminate a whopping 27 routes, 18 of which are out of New York.
The move was an effort “to better connect customers with the destinations most important to them,” the airline said in a statement sent to AFAR, hinting that the issue was one of simple supply and demand. “Part of that process resulted in the winding down of a handful of routes, including our dedicated shuttle service.”
Indeed, the cuts include long-running shuttle service—frequent flights that operate on shorter, commuter routes—between New York and Boston, and New York and Philadelphia, both out of LaGuardia Airport.
American is also removing some Costa Rica and Canada flights from its schedule on the international front, as well as a handful of flights between smaller hubs.
American said it is “proactively reaching out to customers” affected by the changes to offer them alternate travel arrangements.
The vast majority of the routes being cut by American are serviced by other major carriers, including American’s partner airline JetBlue, as well as United and Delta Air Lines. Thus, none of the routes will lose service entirely, but some will lose nonstop service.
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Throughout the pandemic, major airlines have been adjusting their domestic schedules in response to fluctuating demand, with American and United being the latest examples. Last fall, American suspended service to 13 U.S. cities, leaving some of those cities briefly without any scheduled service, including Dubuque, Iowa, and Greenville, North Carolina.
The move comes at a time when airlines are struggling to keep pace with the recovery in travel demand. At the end of October, American canceled hundreds of flights due to staffing shortages. Like other airlines, American encouraged thousands of workers to quit last year when air travel collapsed during the pandemic, only to be caught short-staffed this year when travel recovered faster than expected.
“Flight attendant staffing at American remains strained and reflects what is happening across the industry as we continue to deal with pandemic-related issues,” Paul Hartshorn Jr., a spokesman for the union representing American’s flight attendants, told the Associated Press.
Flight attendants said many reached their maximum allowable hours for October during the final days of the month, leaving many flights without cabin crews.
American’s spate of flight cancellations came only two weeks after Southwest Airlines experienced a similar rash of cancellations.
The question now is: how many more flight cancellations, either temporary or more permanent ones, will we continue to see in the coming days and weeks?
Barbara Peterson and the Associated Press contributed reporting.
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