Pilot Shortage Leaves Passengers Frustrated
Photo by Hanson Lu on Unsplash
As the month of July nears its end, we continue to hear stories about staff shortages at airlines, resulting in delayed and canceled flights, airport chaos, and lost baggage.
In several instances, airlines board passengers to their planes, only to find out that they don’t have an available pilot. This then forces the airline to deplane with frustrated passengers piling out of the aircraft.
The deplaning scenario was recently highlighted by an anonymous American Airlines pilot, who discussed the situation with Business Insider.
The captain, an American Airlines employee for 23 years, explained that this is not the pilots fault. Pilots are instructed to board, even if they are about to run out of their regulated working hours. (Flight time and rest requirements for pilots are regulated by the FAA for safety.)
The anonymous AA pilot described the current situation of trying to find pilots for planes as “whack-a-mole”. In one instance, the pilot describes being pulled off one flight to cover another, only for that existing flight to be left waiting for another captain.
This isn’t a problem reserved for American Airlines, however. This problem afflicts United, Delta, Spirit, JetBlue, and others.
This shortage of pilots, a residual effect from furloughs and COVID policies, is causing major disruptions across the industry. A solution must be found.