NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - With a sheet of paper in his hand, Aubrey Braithwaite is trying to get his flight problems straightened out.
“It’s all so frustrating. You got to run here and run there you know. I don’t know,” Braithwaite said.
Braithwaite planned on traveling from Nashville to Miami, then Miami to his home country Guyana in South America. But he just found out that his flight in September got canceled.
“They didn’t send me any email. But somebody who was traveling with me, they got an email and they told me. So I called then, and they accepted that the flight canceled,” Braithwaite said.
Now, it’s causing a ripple effect of problems.
“It is terrible. I hope they don’t change it again,” Braithwaite said.
Braithwaite is one of many travelers trying to figure out what to do next. American Airlines just announced they're cancelling hundreds of flights through mid-July.
The company says the first few weeks of June brought unprecedented weather to their largest hubs, impacting operation, causing delays canceled flights and disruption to crew member schedules.
On top of that, they have labor shortages with some of their vendors, plus there’s been an uptick in customer demand.
“We’ve gone from zero travel to records that are being broken everyday,” Dupnack said.
Darlene Dupnack’s been in the travel business for over 35 years. She’s noticing the high volume herself.
“I can speak from my own experience that if you’re trying to get through to the airlines, it’s almost impossible. Waits can be up to 24 hours on the phone. A colleague of mine fell asleep with her earbuds in her ears for 12 hours and the next morning, they finally answered her call,” Dupnack said.
News4 ran into that issue as well. When we called the customer service number wanting to know about cancellations, we heard an automated message telling us the wait could be longer than four hours before a call back.
Dupnack recommends if you have trouble, try reaching them online. And always make sure you have travel insurance before you fly, especially this year.
“It’s just one of those situations where I don’t see it changing for at least a year,” Dupnack said.
As for Braithwaite, he finally spoke with a representative, but still didn’t get what he was hoping for.
“I came here to get three itineraries from them...for the same flight!!! Before they canceled the flight! And now they can’t give me three! Just one! And I’m the person that booked the flight! For my daughter and grandson! It’s not no stranger,” Braithewaite said.
He can only hope things get straightened out, so he can have the trip back to his home country that he desires.
“I don’t believe I would want to travel with them anymore,” Braithwaite said.
As for more travel tips, watch the destination you’re choosing to go to. If it’s overbooked, you can run into issues. So you may want to rethink your dream destination.
Also, with international flights, Dupnack says you may want to consider staying over night at your departure city 24 hours in advance.
American Airlines tells News4 the adjustments they’re making systemwide account for about 1 percent of their daily operation in July, or roughly 72 of their 5,674 average daily departures.
In the first 15 days of June, American Airlines saw nine days of bad weather that have impacted at least one of their hubs.
American Airlines also released the following statement:
“The first few weeks of June have brought unprecedented weather to our largest hubs, heavily impacting our operation and causing delays, canceled flights and disruptions to crew member schedules and our customers’ plans. That, combined with the labor shortages some of our vendors are contending with and the incredibly quick ramp up of customer demand, has led us to build in additional resilience and certainty to our operation by adjusting a fraction of our scheduled flying through mid-July. We made targeted changes with the goal of impacting the fewest number of customers by adjusting flights in markets where we have multiple options for re-accommodation.
“Our focus this summer — and always — is on delivering for our customers no matter the circumstance. We never want to disappoint, and feel these schedule adjustments will help ensure we can take good care of our customers and team members and minimize surprises at the airport.”
Additionally, regarding your question about refunds: We’re doing everything we can to support our customers impacted by these adjustments. The majority of these adjustments were made in markets with multiple flight options with the goal of moving customer to these different flights. When that’s not possible, our customers are able to receive a full refund when the schedule change is more than four hours from their original departure time.