Washington D.C. – The American airline industry has made a number of excuses following a  “spik[e]” in flight cancellations ahead of the July Fourth holiday weekend in 2022 — including over 2,000 cancellations occurring in a single day — which came a month after flight cancellations left “tens of thousands” of travelers stranded during June 2022’s holiday weekends and consumer complaints surged by over 300% above pre-pandemic levels in April. While airline companies have blamed bad weather and air traffic controllers for the delays and cancellations, a new analysis from corporate watchdog Accountable.US outlines the history of worker mistreatment of the top five U.S. airline companies’ (even as they’ve received nearly $54 billion in federal bailouts) that is now contributing to a labor shortage and subsequent consumer headaches.  

Decisions made by the major airlines to subject their workforce to low pay, long hours, and weak benefits bear much of the blame for the capacity issues they now struggle with, while some have even bragged about their profits as they have stretched their employees to the breaking point.  

Highly compensated airline executives – including from companies that have taken billions of dollars in taxpayer bailouts and bragged of recent profits – are desperate to blame anyone but themselves for a surge of delays and cancellations that follow years of treating their workers like dispensable cogs. Unfortunately it’s the consumers who are now paying the price of the airline industry’s self-inflicted labor crisis – one that is a predictable result of companies prioritizing a small group of wealthy investors above all.” 

Accountable.US spokesperson, Liz Zelnick


back to top