Canceled flights, packed planes, rising fares and violent outbursts are the new normal for air travel. Flying is getting worse for both passengers and crews.
The problems run deeper than the operational meltdowns that caused Southwest (LUV) and American Airlines (AAL) to cancel thousands of flights over four-day periods in recent weeks, each time stranding tens of thousands of angry passengers.
Staffing shortages are leading to overworked flight crews and most of the canceled flights. Vaccine mandates could lead to even more staffing shortages. Less choice in flights has led to higher ticket prices. And altercations over masks have been the cherry on the top of a miserable year for travel.