Airlines cutting more flights due to understaffing as summer travel months approach

Airlines expect this to be a very busy summer travel season, even though airfares are higher.

But travelers should prepare for disruptions, with one of the big reasons being a shortage of pilots.

Now, some airlines are scaling back.

“They just kept delaying it and delaying it and delaying it,” traveler Gary Thomas said.

Many passengers feel flying these days comes with a lot of uncertainties and expense.

“Trying to find a flight under $700 was a problem,” Thomas added.

For Thomas, rising flight costs were the final straw, enough to swear off flying for the time being.

A new survey by Longwoods International claims more than half of U.S. travelers say transportation costs will impact their travel in the next six months.

“I don’t think people are canceling vacations, I just think they are changing the way they’re getting there,” TravelZoo senior editor Gabe Saglie said. “They’re changing the length of time they are spending on the ground.”

Several major airlines are still scrambling to make adjustments ahead of a busy summer travel season.

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines has cut more than 700 flights from its June, July, and August schedules.

Earlier this year, Fort Worth-based American Airlines adjusted its schedule by reducing to less travel routes and adding flights to popular destinations.

“This is a preemptive attempt to make sure that we don’t see the kinds of nightmare scenarios that a lot of consumers and travelers are complaining about,” Saglie added.

He said it’s clear many airlines are still understaffed.

“As we look out at the June, July, August period, airlines are now realizing they simply cannot meet the demand that’s out there with the current system that is in place,” he said.


(Photo by Jordan Sanchez/Unsplash)

RELATED: Air travelers seeing increase in prices as we head into the summer months

According to Fox Business, JetBlue and Spirit airlines have cut 5-10% of their summer schedules to focus on employee recruiting.

In a statement, American told FOX4: “Our summer preparations began last year as demand returned and we haven’t slowed down on hiring and onboarding…In fact, we have already welcomed more than 600 new pilots this year.”

The latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report said that more than 14,000 pilots need to be hired each year for the next decade in order to keep up with the shortage.

American Airlines Pilot and Allied Pilots Association spokesman Dennis Tajer said he’s worries airlines aren’t fully prepared for what’s coming.

“People want to fly and management teams are trying to sell tickets that they likely cannot fulfill this summer, and as pilots, we only have so much we can do,” he explained.

Saglie’s tried and true advice is for people to book their trip early.

“If you’re sure you want to travel in June, July, August, now would be the time. Because you’re going to be looking at that same fare probably higher in about 3-4 weeks’ time,” he said.

Some tips for travelers: Check any mileage points saved up, look at airline hubs to find more reliable flights, and see if you can consider an early fall trip instead of the summer.

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Hospital exec expects travel nurses to transition back to permanent roles in coming months (Spectrum News)

April 11, 2022

One hospital official in Ohio expects some travel nurses to transition back to permanent roles in the months ahead as lucrative travel contracts end, Spectrum News reported. “I think some of that is going to start to cool down,” Ohio State Wexner Medical Center’s Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Andrew Thomas said of highly paid nurse travel contracts. “I think some people are hopefully going to come back to their routine jobs, and we’re also working really hard — anyone who is here as a traveler that we’ve brought in, we’re trying to make sure they understand the benefits of working here. Maybe they’ll sign on permanently.”

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Airfares are expected to fall by 40 percent in the coming months

Airfares are expected to fall by 40 percent in the coming months

After the Government of India’s decision to increase the number of flights, and restart regular international air travel from March 27 onwards, it is being said that airfares are most likely to fall by 40 percent. This, according to industry executives.

As of now, travel has begun to pick up after two years of COVID induced lockdowns, and restrictions. Airlines across the world are planning to increase their number of flights, expecting travel trends to pick up this year.

Lufthansa Airlines, and its group carrier Swiss International Air Lines, have decided to almost double flights in the coming months. Singapore Airlines too might increase flights by 17 percent, as per its executives. In India, domestic airline company IndiGo is hoping to resume its services with 100 global flights in the next few months.

India has been operating flights under the air bubble programmes that it has with other countries, since it has banned all regular international flights. Airfares in the past couple of months have skyrocketed since there is a limited capacity in airlines around the world. On some routes, the airfares went up to 100 percent higher.

Industry experts are of the view that by suspending regular international flights, we have a demand-supply imbalance at hand. International travel therefore has been very expensive under the air bubble arrangements. Now with airlines going back to normal, air ticket prices are set to decrease.

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railways news: Surge in ticketless travel in first 9 months of 2021-22; railways nabs 1.78 cr passengers

The Railways caught more than 1.78 crore ticketless passengers, and those with unbooked luggage, in the first nine months of 2021-22, a jump of around 79 per cent from the non-Covid-hit fiscal of 2019-2020, according to an RTI response.

During the coronavirus impacted fiscal of 2020-21, when severe restrictions on traffic movement were in place, the number of such passengers stood at 27 lakh.

The data was made available by the Railway Board in response to the RTI query filed by Madhya Pradesh-based activist Chandra Shekhar Gaur.

The RTI response also revealed that during April-December 2021, more than 1.78 crore passengers were detected travelling without ticket/with improper ticket and unbooked luggage.

An amount of Rs 1,017.48 crore was realised from them as fine, it said.

Sources indicated that one of the major reasons for such a surge in ticketless travel is the fact that even now, when most of the Covid restrictions have been lifted, many express and superfast trains have only online booking and limited services. ‘

As for the 2019-2020 fiscal, which was not impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, 1.10 crore people were caught travelling ticketless and a total fine of Rs 561.73 crore was recovered from them.

Between April 2020 and March 2021 i.e. 2020-21 fiscal, 27.57 lakh people were caught travelling ticketless and Rs 143.82 crore was levied as fine on them.

Passengers have also complained that there was a demand-supply mismatch as far as train services are concerned.

In fact, according to data provided by the Railways, over 52 lakh people who were on the waitlist after finalisation of seat reservation charts could not travel by trains in the first six months of the current fiscal, indicating a need for more trains on busy routes.

Till September of the financial year 2021-2022, 32,50,039 PNRs (passenger name records), against which 52,96,741 passengers had bookings, were auto-cancelled as they were in the waitlist status after the preparation of the charts,

“The problem is that after the severe restrictions on travel over the last two years, people are now travelling more and more. Some because of emergencies and many more for leisures. While the number of travellers has increased, the number of trains, their frequencies have remained the same. We have introduced clone trains and things will get better,” said an official.

According to Railways data, there has been a significant increase in the number of passengers availing train services from 2019-2020 to 2021-22.

In October 2019, when regular train services were in operation, the number of passengers who travelled by trains was 4.40 crore. In September 2021, with an improvement in the COVID-19 situation, the number rose to almost seven crore.

The RTI also said that during April 2021 to December 2021, the overall occupancy of reserved accommodation was 99.65 per cent.

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Live news: US retail sales rise most in 10 months as consumers splurge on cars and furniture

Chinese factory gate inflation fell in January to its lowest rate in six months, as government intervention cooled prices in commodity markets and renewed Covid-19 lockdowns crimped demand.

The producer price index rose 9.1 per cent compared to the same period a year ago, narrowly missing the 9.5 per cent increase forecast by economists polled by Bloomberg.

The latest figures come after months of state-led intervention in energy and commodity markets following soaring factory gate inflation last year. January also saw a string of strict measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus in China, including the lockdown of Xi’an, a central Chinese city of 13mn residents.

January’s moderation in inflation was helped by declining prices of fuel and energy, metals, chemicals, timber and agricultural products, figures from National Bureau of Statistics showed.

By sector, the coal mining and washing industry saw the biggest declines, with prices falling 3.5 per cent compared to December, after the price of coal reached record highs last year.

Prices in the oil and natural gas sector rose 2.6 per cent, however, compared to December, with analysts saying that geopolitical tensions over a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine could add further price pressure.

Headline consumer price index inflation also missed forecasts, rising 0.9 per cent year-on-year, driven by a 2.5 per cent month-on-month decline in the price of pork.

“Looking ahead, PPI inflation may face upward pressure if geopolitical tensions contribute to upward pressure on commodity price,” Jing Liu, senior economist for greater China at HSBC, said in a note.

“But there is arguably more disinflationary concern given the muted core CPI inflation, as strong headwinds including the challenge posed by Omicron continue to hinder the consumption recovery and economic growth.”

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Travel Advisors See Bookings Bump Ahead Of Summer Months – CBS Baltimore

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Fire Erupts Near Big Sur After Months of Heavy Rain

A fire in January? Californians have, tragically, seen that before.

But a fire in January after months of record-breaking rain? That’s far more unsettling.

A blaze that erupted on the Central Coast over the weekend seemed to stun even those intimately familiar with California’s ongoing drought and its increasingly year-round fire season. The National Weather Service’s Bay Area office called the fast-moving fire near Big Sur “surreal,” given the recent storms.

California saw heavy rainfall in the final three months of 2021, leading many to believe that the threat of fire would lessen for at least the next few months. But the latest blaze revealed a harsh reality: The drought has become so severe that even a series of torrential storms wasn’t enough to end it.

The land in many parts of the state remains extremely parched and, after an unusually dry January, apparently ready to burn.

“Anecdotally, it seems as though the long-term drought is acting like a chronic illness where even recent rains” and cold winter weather “isn’t helping to keep fires from developing,” the National Weather Service’s Bay Area office said on Twitter.

On Friday night, the brush fire near Big Sur began to grow, forcing hundreds in Carmel-by-the-Sea to evacuate their homes. At its largest over the weekend, the blaze reached about 1,000 acres and threatened more than 200 homes and buildings. By Monday morning, it was 33 percent contained, according to Cal Fire, the state’s fire agency.

George Nuñez, a captain with Cal Fire, told my colleague that he had to ask other agencies to help fight the blaze because it hit during the off-season.

Typically, his unit has 17 fully staffed fire engines, he said. But that number was reduced to two when fire season officially ended in early January, he said.

“Everybody says that California has a year-round fire season,” Nunez told The New York Times. “And this is just part of it.”

Last year, California endured a brutal fire season triggered by unusually high temperatures and severe drought conditions. By the end of 2021, 2.6 million acres had burned across the state, a million more the annual average from the past five years, according to Cal Fire.

Almost all of last year’s destruction happened before a series of storms arrived in October and dumped water across the state. Another series of downpours in December made California seem even safer from fire.

Before the storms, 88 percent of California was considered in extreme or exceptional drought, the most severe designations. Now, 1 percent of the state falls into those categories, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

But apparently the improvement wasn’t enough to stop fires all together. Even after the storms, 99 percent of California remains in some level of drought.

And January, usually one of the wettest months of the year, has been unseasonably dry. For the past three weeks, plants and soil have been losing much of the moisture they absorbed in late 2021.

So when humidity levels dropped on Friday and winds began roaring at up to 50 miles per hour near Big Sur, dangerous fire conditions were set.

“It’s unusual to have fire this size here on the coast at the end of January,” Cecile Juliette, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, told The Associated Press. “The fact that we had a fire this size is of great concern.”

Today’s travel tip comes from Vivia Strome, who recommends Armstrong Woods:

“Just about an hour or so north of the famed Muir Woods, in Guerneville, lies another park where you can enjoy a mild hike with family.

Your senses are refreshed with the cool damp air while you gaze at the massive majestic and magical Redwood trees that hover above reaching for the ocean blue sky and the bright winter sun.”

Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to We’ll be sharing more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.

The winners of our student personal essay contest.

Meet Raymie, a 154-pound newborn.

Raymie was born last week at the Santa Barbara Zoo and clocked in at 5 feet 9 inches tall, The Santa Barbara Independent reported. Just 45 minutes after he was born, the little guy was able to stand up on his own.

Raymie is a Masai giraffe, a subspecies of giraffe native to Kenya and Tanzania that was declared endangered in 2019. Their population has fallen by half over the last three decades.

Raymie and his family — he has a sister who was born in 2020 at the zoo — are among an estimated 120 Masai giraffes that live at 28 North American zoos, the news outlet reports.

Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Soumya

P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: It might come with sprinkles (4 letters).

Jonah Candelario and Mariel Wamsley contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at

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Why your flight time could change months before a trip

But closer to the date of a flight, rescheduling might be necessary because of concerns about whether enough flight attendants or pilots will be available, or because a certain type of plane needs to be grounded, as happened with the Boeing 737 Max, Mann said.

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Marble Arch Mound to close after just six disappointing months

(CNN) — Just six months after opening, London’s newest tourist attraction is shutting its doors.
The much-derided Marble Arch Mound, which cost a reported £6 million ($8.15 million), and was overseen by Westminster Council, will close January 9 after developing a reputation as a major disappointment and having been the source of widespread mockery on social media since July.
Ahead of its impending closure, tickets to the attraction are being sold for free, and are available on the door as well as on the Mound’s official website.

The Mound — situated on the corner of Hyde Park and Oxford Street — had promised sweeping greenery, unique views of the city and a light exhibition inside. It was conceived by Westminster Council as part of a “smarter, greener” future for the borough.

But when it opened, visitors were shocked to discover that elements of the attraction were clearly unfinished. Scaffolding used in the development of the structure was still visible and the lush greenery that had been promised was sorely lacking, as photos on social media showed.

The views at the top of the Mound — 130 steps up — were described as underwhelming and less than had been expected.

In a review written for The Critic when it first opened, Dan Barker said that the marketing material around the Mound had described entering into the inside of the structure as “descending into the heart” yet felt “a little soulless rather than a beating heart, an empty space used to store hand sanitizer and temporary signs.”

Barker also said the café and the shop that was promised, along with a light exhibition by W1 Curates which has since appeared, had yet to emerge when he visited in its opening days.

In his review, Barker compared the Mound to “that famous Cristiano Ronaldo statue” — in reference to the sculpture of the soccer star that failed to capture any of his features — rather than “Michaelangelo’s David” and concluded that the money spent on the attraction by the council “could have been better used.”

When the news that the Mound would be shutting down reached Twitter, users were quick to use the opportunity to mock the attraction one last time.

Many visitors described the Marble Arch Mound as a "waste of money."

Many visitors described the Marble Arch Mound as a “waste of money.”

Guy Bell/Shutterstock

Otto English — the pen name that the writer and journalist Andrew Scott goes by — bid farewell to the Mound and pointed out that it had cost taxpayers millions of pounds.
Author Edwin Hayward questioned whether any visitors ever actually came to London just because of the Mound and called it a “dire expenditure by the local council, despite their protestations.”
And when the Mound first opened to visitors, one said it was “the worst thing I’ve ever done in London.”
Despite its many detractors, there were some that still tried to defend the Mound before it closes for good. Tony Devenish, a Conservative Assembly Member for Hammersmith and Fulham and Kensington and Chelsea, said the Marble Arch Mound “drove footfall at a time when the West End was trying desperately to protect jobs and recover from the impact of Covid.”

While its time in the English capital may have been short-lived, the Marble Arch Mound will always be remembered — although not for the reasons its creators might have liked.

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