Was This Weekend’s Air Travel Meltdown President Biden’s Fault? [Roundup]

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Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Well, the country is falling apart. The airline sector is just one part of it. Yes. It is Brandon’s fault.

  2. The FAA, just like many airlines, has not replaced the staff it lost during covid which exacerbated thunderstorms.
    No, you can’t totally blame Biden but the fast ramp up of travel has left the entire travel industry short staff.

    Given that JetBlue and Spirit cancelled MORE FLIGHTS the day after the Saturday Florida storms than the day of the storms, those two airlines clearly do not have the operational controls and resilience to navigate major IROPS.
    Both have had similar meltdowns in the past while B6′ on-time is REGULARLY and for years at the bottom of the industry – as much as 25 percentage points below its peers at the same airports

  3. I’m still not understanding how Biden can be blamed for a lack of FAA staff due to employee loss and attrition–which is due to Covid AND baby boomer early retirement.

    I live in a large, 55+ community, and major corporations have been visiting to recruit workers. Age is not a factor. My next-door neighbor is 82 (!) and she finished training 6 months ago, now she is a WFH customer service rep for a nationwide insurance company, and she is making $22.50 an hour, working 10-12 hours a week, just enough to not affect her SSI benefits.

    This country is heading for a severe labor shortage as the Boomers retire. How are these employees going to be replaced, when there isn’t enough manpower to do so? Should the government increase visa allocation (which was reduced by the Trump admin and hasn’t been increased during Biden’s time) for fast-track immigration? Even doubling or tripling wages won’t produce the necessary manpower–there simply are not just enough bodies.

    If the physical bodies don’t exist, they don’t exist, period. You cannot squeeze blood from a stone. Until cloning and AI become a common, everyday reality, then we are going to have acute labor shortages. It’s all about the numbers, folks.

  4. Why on earth would you repeat ANYTHING O’Reilly says? Biden controls the weather now? You must be looking for clicks, this is plain stupid.

  5. Kimmie
    you raise very good points but airline pilots, mechanics and air traffic controllers are highly trained professionals and the wave of people coming in don’t have the skills to do those jobs.
    There are other countries that could provide skilled workers but those types of workers don’t have the political benefit that unskilled workers have.
    The US is on the verge of a major worker shortage; the mass resignation of 2021 was due in part to covid regulations and the amount of stimulus that was given to Americans that didn’t need it.
    Immigration policy is broken in the US and has been under multiple administrations. Trying to circumvent the laws that do exist in order to tilt the scales more in “your” favor do nothing to get all sides to the table to come up w/ reasonable solutions.
    Canada and the EU have much more responsible and workable immigration policies than the US.
    As with so many other things, airlines will feel the impact more than other industries

  6. If Trump was President, it would definitely not be his fault. He never met a problem he couldn’t blame on someone else or a success he couldn’t take credit for. Ah, the good old days.

  7. Travel industry is responsible – as any other business, it is geared to maximize profits and minimize losses and thus they have adapted the so-called “just in time” method for decades now. The pandemic has disrupted their methods. But for long they will be blaming this pandemic? Travel industry should have planned or developed plans to deal with this, after all they (private sector) have the smartest people working for them! The government gave out $$$ billions in stimulus to shore up these businesses but government cannot manage their daily operations!

    In a free market capitalist system where the government is shut-out of business planning, it is disingenuous to blame Biden or Trump for this mess! The blame falls squarely at these executives and their short-sighted quarterly reports.

  8. As a general rule, Presidents receive too much credit for things that go well (such as a growing economy) while also receiving too much blame for things going poorly (such as what happened this weekend). Most informed industry observers could list a large number of things that Washington could/should do that would likely improve the system, reduce inefficiencies, and help consumers, but it is hard to argue that most of these issues are really tied to one particular party or administration.

  9. As much as I dislike Biden the statement by “Kalboz” is right on. “ The blame falls squarely at these executives and their short-sighted quarterly reports.”.

    Neither Trump or Biden could foresee this or have much of an impact as the Govt is not involved in the day to day activities of these companies.

  10. When Trump was President, EVERYTHING was his fault, including severe weather events like the hurricane that hit Puerto Rico and unprovoked assaults on Asians in SF and NY by the diversity crew supposedly because Trump had the audacity to blame Chyna for the coof.

    Now that Brandon is in charge, he can’t be blamed for anything. The poor man is just a powerless victim to all world events according to the media and apologists similar to many in this comment section.

    We all see your hypocrisy…

  11. Kalboz,
    you clearly don’t believe that the federal government – the FAA – is subject to the same staffing crises that the private sector is facing.
    The reality is that we have ONE job market and the FAA IS short-staffed.

  12. Regarding “the man who drank too much, got caught when he couldn’t figure out payment at the airport parking garage. He blew a 0.294.” Inquiring minds want to know if he is a pilot, co-pilot, or flight attendant and, if so, which airline he works at.

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