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Will airlines be able to keep up with surging summer demand?

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Travel experts project summer 2022 will be a hectic time for the airline industry, which is still recovering from COVID-19. Here’s how it may impact travelers’ summer itineraries.

Increased demand

“People really, for the last 18 to 24 months, [have] been stir crazy not going anywhere,” Ted Bradpiece, president of a Los Angeles-based travel agency, said. “And finally being at the point where they need to get out.” 

Summer surge

According to the Transportation Security Agency, more than 2 million passengers a day took to the skies in March. Those numbers are twice the reported 1.2 million people who traveled in March 2021 and 300,000 passengers shy of pre-pandemic levels in 2019. 

Staffing shortages

While some airlines have reported record-breaking profits from ticket sales, not all carriers are fully staffed.

According to Bloomberg, airlines lost more than 300,000 workers during COVID-19.

“And as you bring them [pilots and flight crew] back on, depending on how long they have been laid off for determines how long their recertification training is. It can be anywhere from maybe a week, up to six weeks,” Bradpiece said.

Fewer flights

Ahead of summer, several airlines, including Spirit, JetBlue, Alaska, and Southwest, have slashed routes and flights from their schedules. While flights face regular delays and cancellations due to weather, air traffic control, and computer glitches, a delayed flight could now cost travelers vacation days. 

 “Let’s put it this way, it’s not guaranteed that they’re [travelers] necessarily going to get there on the day that they want to get there,” Bradpiece said.

Jet fuel costs 

On top of planes idling, the Russia-Ukraine War makes jet fuel more expensive and complicated to get at some airports. In response, airlines are passing those costs on to passengers. 

Reuters contributed to this report.

JIMMIE JOHNSON: PLANNING TO JET OFF TO LONDON? 

GOING ON A FAMILY VACATION TO HAWAII?

I HATE TO BE A BUZZKILL, BUT GETTING TO YOUR SUMMER DESTINATION THIS YEAR COULD BE A GAMBLE.

TED BRADPIECE: ”Let’s put it this way, it’s not guaranteed that they’re necessarily going to get there on the day that they want to get there.”

JIMMIE: WHAT’S AILING THE AIRLINES? LET’S GET THIS STRAIGHT.

AIRPORTS AND AIRLINES ARE BRACING FOR A SUMMER SURGE. 

BRADPIECE: “People really, for the last 18 to 24 months, being stir crazy not going anywhere. And finally being at the point where they just need to get out.”

JIMMIE: TED BRADPIECE IS PRESIDENT OF A LOS ANGELES-BASED TRAVEL AGENCY. 

HE DESCRIBES THE UPCOMING SUMMER RUSH AS A “PERFECT STORM” FOR AIR TRAVEL.

IN MARCH ALONE, T-S-A SAYS MORE THAN TWO-MILLION PASSENGERS A DAY TOOK TO THE SKIES. THAT’S NEARLY DOUBLE THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO FLEW AT THIS SAME TIME LAST YEAR AND JUST SHY OF PRE-PANDEMIC LEVELS.

WHILE THE PASSENGERS ARE BACK, MANY PILOTS AND FLIGHTS CREWS ARE NOT.

ACCORDING TO BLOOMBERG, AIRLINES LOST MORE THAN 400-THOUSAND WORKERS DURING COVID-19.

BRADPIECE: ”And as you bring them back on, depending on how long they had been laid off for determines how long their recertification training is”>

JIMMIE: STAFFING SHORTAGES HAVE FORCED SEVERAL AIRLINES [SPIRIT, JETBLUE, ALASKA, AND SOUTHWEST] TO SLASH ROUTES AND FLIGHTS FROM THEIR SUMMER SCHEDULE.  

FLIGHTS ARE ALWAYS SUBJECT TO REGULAR DELAYS AND CANCELLATIONS, BUT NOW IT CUT INTO YOUR VACATION.

BRADPIECE: “the rule of thumb right now would be to allow yourself two extra days to get to your destination so that you don’t risk losing your entire trip.”

JIMMIE: ON TOP OF PLANES IDLING, YOU HAVE THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR MAKING JET FUEL  MORE EXPENSIVE AND HARD TO GET AT SOME AIRPORTS. AS A RESULT, THOSE COSTS ARE BEING PASSED ON TO YOU. 

ARE YOU PLANNING TO TRAVEL THIS SUMMER? 

IF SO, ARE YOU FLYING? LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW. 

 

Travel experts project summer 2022 will be a hectic time for the airline industry, which is still recovering from COVID-19. Here’s how it may impact travelers’ summer itineraries.

Increased demand

“People really, for the last 18 to 24 months, [have] been stir crazy not going anywhere,” Ted Bradpiece, president of a Los Angeles-based travel agency, said. “And finally being at the point where they need to get out.” 

Summer surge

According to the Transportation Security Agency, more than 2 million passengers a day took to the skies in March. Those numbers are twice the reported 1.2 million people who traveled in March 2021 and 300,000 passengers shy of pre-pandemic levels in 2019. 

Staffing shortages

While some airlines have reported record-breaking profits from ticket sales, not all carriers are fully staffed.

According to Bloomberg, airlines lost more than 300,000 workers during COVID-19.

“And as you bring them [pilots and flight crew] back on, depending on how long they have been laid off for determines how long their recertification training is. It can be anywhere from maybe a week, up to six weeks,” Bradpiece said.

Fewer flights

Ahead of summer, several airlines, including Spirit, JetBlue, Alaska, and Southwest, have slashed routes and flights from their schedules. While flights face regular delays and cancellations due to weather, air traffic control, and computer glitches, a delayed flight could now cost travelers vacation days. 

 “Let’s put it this way, it’s not guaranteed that they’re [travelers] necessarily going to get there on the day that they want to get there,” Bradpiece said.

Jet fuel costs 

On top of planes idling, the Russia-Ukraine War makes jet fuel more expensive and complicated to get at some airports. In response, airlines are passing those costs on to passengers. 

Reuters contributed to this report.

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