It’s peak season for transatlantic summer travel. After two years, people are eager for prolonged vacations. But summer European plans might be hampered by worker shortages abroad.
Jan Bohling had his fingers crossed at DFW International Airport as he waited for a friend’s arrival from Germany. He’s seen the stories about the pileup of operational problems with flights in and out of Europe, so there was a bit of anxiety surrounding this trip.
“Big concerns because of luggage delays and flight cancellation and all that, so yeah. Plus, on top still, COVID going on, so definitely some big concerns,” said Bohling. “He arrived early so everything went well. And we hope he has his luggage. We’ll find out in a little bit.”
Shortly after our interview, his friend arrived, and everything appeared to be fine.
But for so many others traveling to and from European countries, that hasn’t been the case. Mandy Markee’s teenager arrived in France for a three-week soccer tour. His luggage did not.
“It was one day, three days, five days,” she said. “Eight and half days later is when he finally received his bag.”
Leslie Josephs, airline reporter at CNBC, said the problems seen in Europe can be boiled down to staffing shortages.
“Jobs like baggage handlers and airport workers that are based at the airport are in very short supply,” Josephs said. “The airlines in Europe didn’t have the same government support that our airlines got to retain workers.”
Josephs said there’s no quick fix for what we’re seeing now. The combination of very high demand, peak summer travel and worker shortages means it could take months to work itself out.
Markee said she was her son’s only advocate, as the airport itself continued to give them the runaround. For that reason, she has a bit of advice.
“If there’s any way to put it in a carry-on that’s what you need to this summer,” she said.