Airline crew shortages and delayed flights leave passengers angry and frustrated

Many air passengers are going through a tough time these days.

On a recent Delta flight from Atlanta, Georgia to New York, passenger Travis Foreman had a very bumpy experience.

Not a big fan of flights — especially flights with turbulence — Foreman said he was grateful when his flight finally approached John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) in Queens.

But the same weather that had caused turbulence in the air was now also causing problems for JFK, preventing Foreman’s flight from landing in his home country.

The plane circled and circled — and when it finally got the go-ahead, the plane began its descent, Foreman recalled.

“In less than three minutes [the plane] being told to land, the airport is completely closed,” Foreman of Riverhead, NY, told Fox News Digital.

“We can’t glide anymore, because we’re running out of fuel,” he said.

Foreman said his flight was diverted to Norfolk, Virginia.

Passengers were told the plane would refuel and return to JFK, according to Foreman. It was 6 p.m.

“The flight attendant comes in and says, ‘Don’t shoot the messenger, but we’re delayed until 6:30,'” Foreman said, adding that the time was later changed to 8:30.

“I thought, ‘This can’t be real,'” he said.

Passengers rushed to find hotel rooms, which were in short supply due to other canceled flights before Foreman, he said.

Due to staff shortages, airlines are forced to cancel thousands of flights.
Getty Images

The car rental line lasted two hours, Foreman said – and when he finally spoke to an agent, he was told there were no cars available.

“I said, ‘It doesn’t matter what kind of car it is, I’m going to take a scooter. I’m not waiting until tomorrow,” Foreman said, adding that the agent always said there was nothing available.

Foreman said while he was speaking with the officer, a car became available – so he grabbed it. He said he offered to anyone around him to go to New York and hit the road.

He thought he could do the 370 mile trip in one night, but he was so tired he stopped at a hotel in Dover, Delaware for the night.

Foreman said the cost of the rental car plus hotel was about $500 plus the seven-hour drive.

“It was my time and my penny,” Foreman noted.

In response to the flight delay, a Delta Air Lines spokesperson told Fox News Digital, “Due to significant weather in the New York area on July 25, Flight 917 ATL-JFK diverted to Norfolk, Va., and was delayed overnight due to federally required crew. break.”

“We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused to our customers,” the spokesperson added.

More than 6,000 US flights were delayed or canceled last Monday alone, just days after US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg warned airlines that his department could take action if carriers did not provide more transparency on the reasons for the disruptions, FOX Business reported.

A young girl goes on a trip, holds plane tickets
Airline passengers have faced heavy delays this summer.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

This summer’s long-awaited ‘back to normal’ holiday has been thrown into disarray in many cases by crew shortages and crowded flights that leave little room for anything to go wrong. Also, weather delays are typical of what happens in the summer months.

“Well Traveled People”

In June, passenger Rachel Levi Braha from New York and her family had what she described as “the worst travel experience of our lives, and we are people who travel a lot.”

The family of four, including two young children, were booked on an overnight flight on Air France from New York JFK to Paris and then continued on to Rome, Levi Braha said.

Arriving at the airport more than three hours before departure, Levi Braha and his family were told “the system was down” and boarding passes and baggage tags were handwritten.

The family waited in line for four hours, missing their original flight.

The airline then told them they had been re-booked on Delta for the next day, according to Levi Braha.

This new flight was scheduled to board at 1:05 a.m. It was delayed and did not leave JFK until 4 a.m., causing the family to miss their connection in Paris, Levi Braha said.

Levi Braha said she and her family were rebooked on another connection, but a tight deadline and several misdirections by airline staff meant the family had to go through passport control three times before leaving. finally arrive at their doorstep.

Once they did, they found that there was no one working there to produce their boarding passes.

Man pulling a luggage cart.
The airline industry is short of 12,000 pilots.
Getty Images

They missed the connection, were booked into a nearby hotel and were assured by airline officials that their bags would be on the plane the next day, Levi Braha said.

At 4 a.m. the next morning, the family returned to the airport. Once again, they were told their luggage was on the flight, according to Levi Braha.

She said when they finally landed in Rome, their luggage was nowhere to be found.

Five days later, she added, three suitcases arrived. The last piece of luggage arrived 14 days later.

A month after submitting a refund request for the items they were to replace, Rachel Levi Braha told Fox News Digital, “We still haven’t heard absolutely anything.”

Fox News Digital has contacted Air France for comment.

Although the most recent data available from the Ministry of Transport is only available up to May 2022, the first five months of the year showed that among the delays reported, the largest percentage was caused by what is defined as “under the control of the airline” (e.g. maintenance or crew issues).

Less than one percent of delays were attributed to extreme weather conditions.

The airline industry is short of 12,000 pilots, according to a FOX Business report.

Regional Airline Association CEO Faye Malarkey Black said in May that the pilot shortage was worsening as travel rebounded.

Due to the shortage, 188 communities lost at least a quarter of their air service during the pandemic or the first half of 2022, according to Malarkey Black.

“While demand is strong, I want to acknowledge that we are dealing with a real and growing shortage of pilots that challenges us across the industry to fully meet demand,” Black said.

In May 2022, carriers canceled 2.0% of their scheduled domestic flights, a rate higher than the rate of 0.5% in May 2021 and equal to the same rate of 2.0% in May 2019 before the pandemic, according to a newsletter from the Ministry of Transport for July.

Rear view of a young woman in front of the airport.
More than 6,000 flights were canceled last Monday.
Getty Images

The bumping and overselling data, unlike other airline data, is presented quarterly rather than monthly.

For the first quarter of 2022, the 10 reporting commercial carriers in the United States posted an involuntary denied boarding or bumping rate of 0.44 per 10,000 passengers, higher than the rate of 0.08 in the first quarter of 2021 and at the rate of 0.32 in the first quarter. of 2019.

If you have an upcoming flight in the near future, here are five air travel suggestions to try to alleviate delays and other issues.

5 travel tips to get to your destination on time

1. Take the first flight of the day. The aircraft is generally not subject to waiting for an incoming aircraft, which means it is more likely to depart on time.

2. If your vacation depends on an on-time flight arrival—think cruise—plan to arrive a day early and book a hotel near the port.

3. Have a backup plan. If there’s extreme weather in the forecast that could keep you from getting home — and you can’t extend your vacation — look for hotels near the airport that have flexible cancellation policies. Reserve a room in advance.

4. Time the trip. If your flight is canceled or subject to a long delay, calculate how long the journey would take you compared to waiting for the flight to depart.

5. Also consider the cost of gas and the possibility of getting a refund from your carrier.

Fox News Digital’s Daniella Genovese and Andrew Miller contributed to this report