Airlines experience staffing shortages as COVID restrictions lift

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — With COVID-19 restrictions being lifted, people are heading back to airports and doing some summer travel. 

At SFO Friday afternoon, Terminal 3 was a bit of a ghost town primarily because typical summer traffic has yet to materialize.

“What we are seeing is a positive upward trend in passenger activity, we set new high marks for pandemic era travelers each week but still have a lot of ground to make up abut still at a little under 50% of pre-pandemic levels,” SFO spokesman Doug Yakel said.

That made it all the better for those on the go. 

“This is completely empty. I was shocked up to walk up and find no line to check in.”

But elsewhere across the country travelers are seeing slowdowns due to staffing shortages.

“Airlines, the TSA, concession operators and others are scrambling to bring people back to work,” Henry Harteveldt said.

Harteveldt is a travel industry analyst with atmosphere research group. He says the travel industry is still catching up and without enough pilots, flight attendants, TSA agents it could be mean a tough time for summer travelers.

“I think if there’s anything that will define this summer it will be lines waiting to check in, he said. “Iines waiting to get through security, lines to get on a plane, lines to get your bags lines to check into a hotel and so on.”

And while you may not see the delays at Bay Area airports, you might encounter them where you are going so you want to be prepared for that. In terms of how long this might last, industry analysts say at least though mid July and maybe through the summer. 

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