American Airlines announces more cuts as travel demand continues to rise

American Airlines announces more cuts as travel demand continues to rise


American Airlines is the latest airline to announce schedule cuts — primarily from its Philadelphia hub — even as demand for flights continues to increase.

American, like many other airlines, cut back earlier in the pandemic and is now struggling to keep operations going.

“American has taken steps to size our airline for the resources we have available and to build additional buffer into the remainder of our summer schedule. Last month, American took proactive steps to add resiliency to our schedule by reducing overall system capacity in September by approximately 2%,” the company said in a statement. “These adjustments were made in multi-frequency markets – with the aim of moving customers to different flights.”

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According to American, it is cutting hundreds of flights to the Philadelphia hub in the coming months — about 3% of its schedule there in September, or about 7 flights per day, and 5% of its schedule there in October, or about 13 flights per day.

The airline said it would contact customers whose flights are affected to make alternative arrangements. Customers who choose not to travel under a new itinerary may be entitled to a refund.

Other airlines are making cuts

American is hardly alone in having to reduce flights this summer.

In June, United Airlines announced it would cut 12% of its flights at Newark this summer, canceling about 50 daily departures starting July 1.

JetBlue also trimmed the schedule by approx. 10% this summer, and Delta made a “strategic reduction” in flying, canceling approx. 100 flights per day from 1 July to 7 August.

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American Airlines previously announced it would end service from its regional partners to four cities (Islip and Ithaca, New York; Toledo, Ohio and Dubuque, Iowa) in September, citing a lack of available pilots.

European airports are also struggling

Travel woes aren’t limited to America’s skies this summer, either.

Long lines and canceled flights have confronted passengers across Europe, and major airports, including Heathrow in London and Schiphol in Amsterdam, announced limits on departing passengers throughout the summer. In fact, Schiphol said on Wednesday that it would extend those limits until October.

What passengers are entitled to when their flights are changed

Passengers whose flights are canceled are generally entitled to a refund in the US, but the policy is less clear when flights are delayed. The Department of Transportation technically requires airlines to compensate passengers who experience a “significant” delay, but has not yet defined how long a delay must be to qualify as significant.

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However, the department announced on Wednesday that it is seeking input from the public as it works to clarify the rules around airline compensation, and make it easier for passengers to make claims and get refunds if their travel is disrupted.

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