Travelers could experience higher fares and crowded flights this year as airlines increase prices to offset fuel costs and scale back capacity, according to some industry analysts. Observers note that, unless a recession reduces demand for air travel, full flights will mean continued operational challenges for carriers, including delays and misplaced bags.
Schedule changes announced by Southwest Airlines on Wednesday include the addition of 18 Denver flights to six new destinations. CEO Gary Kelly said the airline is concerned about economic growth and has centered its schedule around flights with strong demand.
Staffing levels at some towers are too low for air traffic controllers to safely handle peak volumes, according to a union representing the controllers. The union said veteran controllers are retiring faster than the government anticipated. FAA Chief Operating Officer Hank Krakowski said FAA data does not indicate that staffing levels are contributing to an increase in errors.