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In another chapter of the ongoing aviation crisis of 2022, American Airlines has just announced that it temporarily suspend ticket sales on flights departing from Amsterdam Schiphol, at the request of the airport. The move follows four other suspensions in the United States and the removal of several long-haul routes.
Europe undoubtedly knows its bumpiest travel season yet, and this time a new variant of Covid is not to blame. For weeks, mainland travelers have been told to expect long delays at airports, and even last-minute flight cancellations, due to summer crowds and personnel issues the industry is facing.
Schiphol is now proof that even the best-equipped airports in the world can succumb to travel chaos:
Even Europe’s top-rated airport is collapsing under the strain
As two-thirds of European airports expect travel delays this summer, Amsterdam Schiphol, the first airport in the Netherlands, officially asked American Airlines to stop selling seats on flights departing from Amsterdam. In 2021, Schiphol held the title of fourth busiest airport in the mainland.
The proposal, presented by Schiphol on June 29, will see American Airlines suspend ticket sales from Amsterdam between July 7 and July 31, the peak dates for summer travel on both sides of the pond. Although all tickets already sold during the period will be honored, customers will not be able to book new ones.
Despite being one of the highest rated in Europe, this Dutch hub is struggling to cope with an unprecedented increase in travel demand, as are other airports in the UK and Ireland. This not only deals another blow to American Airlines by capping its operations, but also further limits travel options for US travelers returning home.
Currently, American Airlines offers two daily flights to Philadelphia International (PHL) from Schiphol (AMS) and daily service to Dallas/Forth Worth International (DFW). It is the preferred airline of thousands of Americans visiting Europe, as it sells a total of 3,633 seats on its Amsterdam lines every week.
Although sales of these will cease for almost a month, the carrier will still offer tickets under its codeshare agreements with British Airways and Aer Lingus. However, Americans transiting through Schiphol must now prepare for the worst-case scenarioas the once reliable airport is on a list of European hubs to avoid this summer.
Travelers will want to avoid Schiphol this season
AMS is now one of the most affected airports in Europehaving prompted the Dutch national company KLM to suspend ticket sales for a whole weekend in order to disperse the crowds. It didn’t stop there: the following weekend, passengers who had confirmed their reservations were prevented from boarding their flights to Amsterdam.
This resulted in 42 KLM flights returning empty to their Schiphol hub on June 4, the day passenger numbers in Amsterdam were so high that delays and cancellations have become the norm. While more suspensions seem likely, American Airlines customers likely won’t be the only ones affected by the unfolding chaos at Schiphol.
Other US carriers operating from Schiphol include Delta and United Airlines, with 17 and 5 daily departures each. So far, these airlines have not been asked by the airport authorities to limit their serviceas confirmed by their representativesbut that could quickly change once passenger numbers increase.
American airlines are not the only ones to pay the price: Air Malta and Corendon Airlines are among European carriers that have been forced to shift countless flights from Amsterdam to Rotterdam The Hague Airport (RTM), a secondary hub around 45 miles south of the Dutch capital. Transavia and TUI fly Netherlands have also rerouted flights to other airports.
Recently, aMS introduced a daily flight limit in an attempt to salvage what is already becoming a disastrous summer. However, as the current labor shortages cannot be resolved in the short term, passengers to the Netherlands should prepare for disruption and more uncertainty in the months to come. If you are traveling abroad, be sure to:
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