Planes were canceled. A long line. The staff walked away. There is missing luggage
It sounds familiar? News outlets and social media users continue to report on the chaos at major airports in North America and Europe.
A one-day strike by ground staff at the German carrier caused it to cancel almost all of its flights in the country.
Travelers and airline managers were angered by the demand that airlines cut flights in and out of London's and Amsterdam's airports.
Staffing shortages and weather issues have caused airlines in the US to cancel and delay tens of thousands of flights.
The airlines are blaming airports. The chief financial officer of low-cost European carrier, Neil Sorahan, complained that airports had one job to do.Uncollected suitcases at Heathrow Airport. The U.K.’s biggest airport has told airlines to stop selling summer tickets.
Many people working in the industry say that airlines are partly to blame for staff shortages, and that the situation is getting worse.
CNBC spoke to several pilots flying for major airlines, all of whom described fatigue due to long hours and what they said was opportunism and a desire to cut costs as part of a toxic "race to the bottom" culture pervading the industry.
The airline staff were not allowed to speak to the press.
The pilot for easyJet told CNBC that it was a nightmare for passengers.
Airlines didn't know what they were doing leading into the summer. They didn't have a plan. The pilot said that the only thing they knew was to fly as much as they could.
They didn't realize that they'd cut all of their resources.
The pilot explained how a shortage of ground staff since the layoffs of those who handle baggage, check-in, security and more has created a domino effect that is throwing a wrench into our lives.
A bit of a toxic soup ... the airports and the airlines share an equal level of blame.
easyJet said in a statement that it takes its responsibilities as an employer very seriously and employs its people on local contracts on competitive terms.
Poor pay, lack of resources for retraining, and former staff not wanting to return are some of the factors that have hobbled the industry.
A pilot for British Airways said that they have been told that they are on a pay cut until at least 2030.
Some airlines took advantage of the situation to cut salaries, make new contracts and lay people off, and now that, as a result of various governments with their restrictions and no support for the aviation sector.
While many airports and airlines are now recruiting and offering better pay, the required training programs are also severely cut back and overwhelmed, further hobbling the sector
British Airways ground staff were set to strike in August over the fact that their full pay had still not been restored, something especially stinging at a time when the CEO of IAG was given a $250,000 gross living allowance.
The strike was called off this week after the airline and workers' union agreed on a salary increase.
The last two years have been bad for the aviation industry. To save jobs, we restructured our business.
The majority of the layoffs were voluntary, according to the company.
The airline said they were focused on building resilience into their operation to give customers the certainty they deserved.
The CEO of IAG forfeited his bonus in 2021 and took voluntary salary reductions in 2020 and 2021.
They just want the cheapest labor to produce their own big bonuses and keep shareholders happy.
The short-term mindset that took employees for granted had been in place for years, according to a pilot flying for the flagship airline.
The pilot said that the airlines were happy to try and depress wages for many people in the industry for a long time. People are shocked that they have the right to go somewhere else. I am surprised that they are.
The stress for airline staff comes on top of the issue of pilot fatigue according to the pilots interviewed by CNBC.
A pilot can fly for up to 900 hours per year. For many airlines, that wasn't seen as the absolute maximum, it was seen as the target to make everyone's workload as efficient as possible
We have a fairly toxic culture and an inordinate amount of work according to the pilot. It's possible that the safety margin could be reduced. That is a big worry.
The pilots say that the combination of low pay and less attractive contracts has been made worse by the swine flu.
The airports and the airlines share an equal amount of blame for the bad weather. The pilot said it had been a race to the bottom for a long time. They will never try and pay as little as possible.
The airline did not reply to the request.
The greedy capitalists. The rat is racing to the bottom The pilot said that there was no respect for the skilled workforce. They just want the cheapest labor to make their own big bonuses.
According to the International Air Transport Association, the airline industry is ramping up resources as quickly as possible to meet the needs of travelers. There is no doubt that these are tough times for the industry's workers.
To attract and retain talent in the ground handling sector is one of the recommendations the trade group has made.
The patience of travelers is what it said in the meantime.