SAN ANTONIO – So far, so good – that’s how a handful of people described their travel experience on the busiest travel day of the year.
Southwest Airlines canceled 2,000 flights in a weekend a month ago and American Airlines canceled 1,800 in three days three weeks ago. The cancellations don’t seem to put travelers off as San Antonio International Airport was full of travelers on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
“I just kept my fingers crossed and it was fine. It was actually okay, just full, but no problems, ”said Olga Sosnowska, who is visiting her family in town.
Caleb Guadarrama, who is retiring home for Thanksgiving, said, “I think we just got lucky and got back on a plane in one piece with basically no problems.”
Some travelers say they have taken extra precautions due to the cancellations airlines have had to make this year. Others, however, just fly by with a little confidence.
“I have travel insurance, so I book the travel insurance when booking because you would eventually take advantage of the trip,” said Dina Geren-Bockl, who came to San Antonio to visit her daughter
Merrill Funk, who was visiting town for his sister’s wedding, said, “(I) didn’t have any backup plans. Fortunately it worked. ”
Southwest Airlines and American Airlines said they would make adjustments to meet vacation demand. They welcomed the employees again, offered incentives for vacation shifts, hired new employees and strengthened the customer relations department.
Southwest Airlines made the following statement:
“We have made some adjustments since the summer, including adjusting the flight schedules for November and December to improve punctuality. In addition, we have made our employees even more important by:
– Hiring more than 4,500 people across the Southwest network
– Incentivize company employees to take vacation shifts to include Rapid Rewards® points, payment options, or a combination of both.
– Other Southwest employees go to major airports during peak hours to answer general questions and provide additional assistance.
“If things don’t go as planned, our increased communication and updates to customers will keep them informed of changes. We have also increased our customer relationship resources to accommodate any travel delays. “
American Airlines made the following statement:
“In order to provide security for both our customers and our team members, we are redoubling our efforts on our schedule and staffing. In terms of the schedule, we made sure that November and December are designed to meet customer demand and to be fully supported by our staff.
“We welcome many team members on the staff front and also aggressively take on many new employees. The reality is that the attitudes environment has changed as a result of the pandemic and we are turning to this new normal:
• Nearly 1,800 flight attendants returned from vacation in November and that will continue with 800 more in December.
• We will also have more than 600 new flight attendants on the team by the end of December.
• We have continued our hiring dynamic across the airline and expect to add 4,000 new team members in the fourth quarter. “
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