With pent-up demand and summer vacations approaching, we’re expecting to see BIG crowds at Disney World and other travel destinations soon. But many airlines aren’t prepared to accommodate those crowds as they continue to recover from losses brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the biggest issues faced by the travel industry has been staffing shortages. Between the initial layoffs and more people getting sick, airlines frequently operate with fewer pilots, flight attendants, and other staff. As a result, many travelers have been victims of canceled or delayed flights. but now, one major airline has reached a deal with an employee union that could potentially mitigate those problems.
According to CNBC, United Airlines is the first of the major airlines in the pandemic era to reach a new contract deal with their pilots’ labor union (The Air Line Pilots Association). The new deal comes as a result of changes brought on during the pandemic, including a shortage of available pilots and a “training backlog.”
Although we don’t know all the details of this new deal, it will probably include improvements to the pilots’ working conditions, including higher pay. United Airlines’ CEO Scott Kirby called the deal “an industry-leading new pilot contract.”
The union and pilots will still need to vote on the agreement before it’s made official. Several other airlines — including Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, and American Airlines — are still negotiating with their own pilots’ unions.
Many airlines have had to cancel flights recently due to short staff, which could be partially caused by protests from overworked employees. CNBC reported that many pilots’ unions have “organized pickets in recent months to protest grueling schedules.” With United’s new deal, it’s possible that there will be fewer protests and thus more available pilots. That could lead to fewer flight cancellations.
If your flight is canceled, be aware that the airline is required to get you on a different flight to your destination, even if it’s on a competing airline. And keep following AllEars for more updates on the latest news that could impact your upcoming trip!
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Are you planning on traveling this summer? Let us know in the comments.