Tajer said passengers should be worried about their safety because of the effect that the shortage is having on pilots.
“They need to be concerned because I’m on TV as a representative for our union saying, ‘There’s a problem here. I don’t fly the airplane unless I’m fit to fly and the airplane’s ready to go. But the fact that you’re pushing us and pushing us… This is not a safety culture.”
The pilot shortage has contributed to thousands of flights being canceled and delayed due to airlines struggling to meet demands.
As of 5 p.m. on Thursday, over 3,800 flights were delayed within, into, or out of the US, according to FlightAware.
An additional 776 flights were canceled across the nation.
Delta was among the airlines with the most cancellations, with at least 200 flights halted.
Tajer is urging the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to get involved, saying the pilots cannot fulfill the schedules they are being given by their airlines.
“When an airline is under financial duress, the FAA put them under special monitoring status. They ought to come in and look at them trying to fly more airplanes than they can actually fly, and build schedules to an inhumane level. We’re ultimately letting down our passengers and squandering our investors’ money. It’s got to stop,” said Tajer.
The pilot shortage has come because of job cuts during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as thousands of retirements.
Many unvaccinated pilots have also left their careers due to discrimination and the inability to make their own health decisions.
This has caused airlines to lose millions of dollars.
The increase in passengers flying now that the pandemic is coming to an end is only making things worse.
US airports have seen an average of 2.2 million passengers a day since the start of June.
Flight Attendants Aren’t Happy
Kristie Koerbel, a flight attendant says, “What you see on the news is an understatement. We are short-staffed and overworked. Not just pilots and flight attendants, but also ground crews. Without ground crews, there is no one to park the planes, drive jetways, get your bags on and off planes, or scan boarding passes.”
She went on to say, “We will not help you if you are mean. Even if we can help, we will save our help for someone nice. Tensions are high. Our patience is gone.”
“If you make us mad – you will not be flying on our planes.”
“We will leave you behind without a second thought, and laugh about you later.”
Koerbel also said that a delayed flight can cause another flight to be canceled, and why that is such a problem for airlines at the moment, who she claims are struggling with staff numbers.
“This causes many delays that snowball throughout the day. Sometimes HOURS. When flight crews get delayed we time out. We can NOT fly longer than 16 hours. It’s illegal,” says Koerbel.
“It doesn’t matter if you have a wedding to get to, when we are done we are done. The way things are now, there are no backup crews, so when this happens your flight gets canceled.”
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