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American Airlines cancels 28 flights out of LAX and 1,800 nationwide

A person walks by a dome-shaped structure.
American Airlines cited staffing shortages and bad weather as reasons for the flight cancellations.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

American Airlines canceled 28 flights out of Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday, according to an airport spokesman, part of hundreds of flight cancellations that the airline blamed on staffing shortages and bad weather.

An airline spokesman said that 1,800 flights have been canceled since Friday, nearly 11% of all the carrier’s scheduled takeoffs. A spokesman for the airport, Frederick Badlissi, said 28 of those flights on Sunday were supposed to be at LAX. He added that 180 flights were on time.

In a note to staff Saturday, American Airlines Chief Operating Officer David Seymour said that winds as high as 50 mph at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport created “crosswind limitations that sharply reduced arrival capacity by more than half.”

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He said that the airline had preemptively canceled a spate of flights because of “additional weather throughout the system,” which results in staffing that “begins to run tight as crew members end up out of their regular flight sequences.”

“Most of the customers impacted by these changes are being rebooked the same day, and we apologize for having to make these changes,” Seymour wrote.

The airline industry has faced a choppy recovery since the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted travel worldwide. Airlines took measures to reduce staff, including voluntary buyouts, and haven’t yet replenished its ranks as travel has picked back up.

A different American Airlines spokesman said there would be “considerable improvement” in the situation beginning Monday, as nearly 1,800 flight attendants will be returning from leave. The remainder will return in December, Seymour said. A hiring spree is expected to bring in 4,000 new employees this quarter, he wrote.


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