“This will be our largest hiring year:” How airlines are preparing for busy summer travel season

Millions of Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home this weekend for Memorial Day—the unofficial start of summer. Thirty-nine million people are projected to travel, according to AAA.   

Despite recent travel figures, the pandemic has changed the landscape of travel. There are approximately 13% fewer flights available over the next few months compared to before the pandemic. Meanwhile, Delta announced Thursday it is reducing its schedule by 2%, or 100 flights per day, partly due to “increased COVID case rates.” 

Delta highlighted to CBS News its ongoing hiring efforts to fill positions throughout the company. 

“We’re still recovering in a lot of ways and both our system and in our network, we have a lot of new employees. About 30% of our team are new,” said Brad Sheehan, Delta’s Vice President of Flight Training and Standards. 

Airline stocks are soaring, with Southwest and JetBlue saying revenue this summer will be even stronger than they were expecting. The airlines made their comments Thursday, May 26, 2022, in regulatory filings.

Wilfredo Lee / AP

Staffing limitations forced Southwest’s CEO Bob Jordan to reduce his airline’s schedule by 7%, so Jordan says his current hiring surge is essential. 

“This will be our largest hiring year, hiring period in our history,” Jordan told CBS News’ Bob Jordan. 

Even as drivers facing record gas prices, most Americans are taking road trips this weekend. Geoff Kapke from Indiana and his wife are on a journey to show their two sons all 50 states before they turn 18. 

“It costs about $130 to fill the car’s tank up. That was not fun, but it’s not going to deter us from hitting the road,” said Kapke. 

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