Pilot: American Airlines 'stuffing the holiday turkey with uncertainty' after canceling 2K flights

Dozens of flights canceled at O'Hare Monday
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Many travelers at Chicago O'Hare airport went nowhere Monday thanks to American Airlines cancellations and delays.

Captain Dennis Trajer, who is part of the Allied Pilots Association, was supposed to be in Dallas for a meeting Monday afternoon, but his flight was delayed for several hours because of staffing shortages.

"It was because they didn't have one flight attendant in one of the slots needed to be filled," Trajer said.

Staffing issues along with high winds in American's main hub, Dallas, forced about 2,000 cancellations around the country over the weekend, with more on Monday.

"It's really inconvenient, but it's part of travel," said Mike Minelli, a traveler whose flight was canceled.

Cindy Hoover said she and her husband are going to drive to Kansas City rather than wait for another flight.

"It's unforeseen. You just can't do anything about it," Hoover said. "I've seen a lot of people be really frustrated and I'm thankful we don't have to be anywhere tomorrow."

But after the weekend and recent cancellation problems with other airlines, many travelers are concerned about upcoming holiday travel plans. American Airlines is promising to hire more employees and be ready for the holiday rush, but the pilot's union is not optimistic that will be enough.

"Right now management is stuffing the holiday turkey with uncertainty and we will not tolerate that," Trajer said.

The recent problems are leading more travelers to buy trip insurance to protect their expenses.

"It is very much top of mind for consumers because we've seen thousands of travelers stranded at airports and not know what to do," said Omar Kaywan of Goose Insurance.
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