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Flight cancellations, delays continue at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport

Phoenix Sky Harbor.jpg
Posted at 10:06 PM, Jul 01, 2021

PHOENIX — Flight cancellations have become a common theme lately. Many travelers have been forced to change plans or left stranded at Sky Harbor Airport.

"We’ve been standing at the ticketing counter and then we went to go get our bags. Then we’ve just been checking our app to see what flights, what we’re going to be on - trying to book hotels, trying to figure all the shuttles out. Can we get a rental car? Can we get a different flight?" says Jennifer Fulkerson, traveler.

Southwest Airlines rescheduled Jennifer Fulkerson's flight back to Colorado Springs - two days later.

"They just booked it for us and said it would be Saturday that we would get home. So, there wasn’t really a choice," says Fulkerson.

Sky Harbor reported 31 canceled flights and more than 100 delays on Thursday alone.

Both Southwest Airlines and American Airlines have been making headlines because of that over the past month.

This issue is not expected to slow down ahead of the holiday weekend.

"We were already sitting at the gate, and we got the text saying canceled, and then everybody went crazy," says Marcus Dalrymple, traveler.

So, what is the cause? The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association says weather is currently a factor, coupled with staffing shortages caused by pilots and others taking extended time off to avoid pandemic-related layoffs.

American Airlines recently announced it was cutting hundreds of flights to avoid overloading its operation as summer travel continues to rise faster than expected.

"I would understand better if I had more notice. The last-minute cancellation is what frustrates me because I was already on my way here and no one can tell me anything except, 'stand in line,'" says Katie Principe, traveler.

Customer assistance lines have been up to an hour-long. Most people are finding out about a delay or cancellation the same day, or within a few hours of departure, leaving them unable to come up with a backup plan.