The COVID-19 pandemic affected everyone’s lives and even now, over two years later, we are still dealing with the effects. Airports were significantly impacted by the pandemic when air travel ground to a halt. Now travel numbers are back up, and at AVL higher than ever, but things aren’t completely back to normal.
Like every industry, airports and airlines are experiencing staffing challenges related to the pandemic. But our industry has extra layers of requirements that pose additional challenges in today’s hiring environment. For instance, while other workplaces might be able to hire someone and have them start right away, that isn’t the case in the air travel industry. Airlines and airports require security clearance and training, which can take weeks to months depending on the position.
Another issue is that people are traveling now more than ever, and the summer surge has been very real. Since the pandemic numbers of travelers have risen dramatically. But this means in some cases airlines, airports, TSA, and vendors (like food outlets and rental car facilities) are struggling to catch up to surging numbers.
It’s a perfect storm in which the travel process can take a little longer than people may be used to. Right now across the country there are longer lines, congested parking, fuller planes, and longer waits for rebooked seats when airline delays occur. This can be very frustrating to travelers, and it is also tough on workers who are tasked with more duties with fewer team members available to accomplish all tasks.
So, what are airports and airlines doing about this? For one, they are working hard on recruiting team members and staffing up to needed levels to handle the current travel volume. They are also finding creative ways to deal with the current issues. Whether that is temporary parking, directing travelers online instead of calling, getting the word out to travelers to plan ahead to arrive at least two hours early, or creative staffing schedules, everyone is doing their best to meet the needs of travelers and take care of their hard-working employees.
Next time you travel please remember that team members in the aviation ecosystem are doing their absolute best to make sure you have a good travel experience. Smaller crews are doing a lot of extra work to make things run smoothly. The stress of the pandemic is still lingering, so it is important to take a deep breath and be sure to show kindness while you travel.