Arizonans worried after pilot shortage strands people at airports

Flight Aware says nearly 600 flights were canceled in the U.S. Friday

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Some passengers are nervous heading into Sky Harbor airport. They’re wondering if their flight will be on time or even show up. “Hey, we’re leaving on a Friday night, so we better get here as early as we can,” Phoenix resident Kelly Dancer said.

Dancer and his family are flying to Oregon to spend time with loved ones. However, he had a brutal experience flying back from Tampa, Florida, a couple of weeks ago. Dancer had a flight scheduled around eight in the morning. He said his flight was initially delayed four hours before it kept getting pushed back.

People packed into the plane and sat on the tarmac for more than an hour. Then, around 8 p.m. that night, Dancer says the pilot announced he was “timed-out” and couldn’t fly the plane that night. So it went back to the gate, people exited and had to wait until the next morning to fly home.

“It was a long day. When you’re flying for business its a tighter schedule wise. When you’re flying for a holiday you just want to get to where you’re going,” Dancer said.

Scottsdale travel agent Sharon Oberritter says some of her clients are canceling trips she planned before they even get to the airport. “They don’t know if they should book the flights because they don’t know if they will get to where they are going,” she said.

Oberritter says you want to book a day ahead of when you need to be somewhere, just in case your flight is delayed or canceled. If you end up stranded overnight, there is no guarantee the airline will help you. It depends on who you are flying with.

“There isn’t a whole lot they can do. Even though the airline maybe the problem. Go to the airline and see what they can get from the airline,” she said.

Michael Raimondi

Michael Raimondi

Michael Raimondi was born in Methuen, Massachusetts. Growing up just 25 miles north of Boston, Michael is a BIG Boston sports fan. He is now adopting our Arizona teams to cheer on.