Senator asks airlines about worker shortages after billions in U.S. bailouts



Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) speaks during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on the IRS budget request on Capitol Hill in Washington U.S., June 8, 2021. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/PoolWASHINGTON, July 16 (Reuters) - The chair of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee has asked the chief executives of six airlines including American Airlines (AAL.O), Delta Air Lines (DAL.N), Southwest Airlines (LUV.N) and JetBlue Airways (JBLU.O)to explain reported worker shortages despite receiving billions in pandemic bailouts. Senator Maria Cantwell, a Democrat, sent the airlines letters on Friday asking for answers to detailed questions about "recent reports of workforce shortages, flight cancellations, and delays, creating havoc and frustrating consumers as more Americans resume travel." The Transportation Security Administration said traffic hit almost 2.2 million passengers on Sunday, the highest daily total since February 2020. Airlines were not allowed to issue involuntary layoffs or cut worker pay as part of government assistance.


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MSN - Senate Finance advances deputy USTR nominees
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© Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images Sen. Ron Wyden speaks during a Senate Finance Committee hearing. The Senate Finance Committee overwhelmingly approved on Tuesday President Joe Biden’s nominees for two deputy U.S. trade representative positions, a step toward filling out the slate of top officials crafting his global trade agenda. “These two trade nominees help to build out an excellent team at USTR,” said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the committee chair. About the nominees: White is well known to lawmakers having just served as Senate Finance’s chief adviser on international competitiveness and innovation. She left the Obama administration in 2014 to join investment firm BlackRock and later oversaw global policy development for Airbnb.

USA TODAY - 'The volumes are beyond anything we have ever seen': Delta hold times won't improve until fall
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Most airlines are struggling with long hold times but Delta has had among the longest waits as travel has surged. Trying to reach Delta Air Lines for travel help but can't get through because of long hold times? Please hold: Airline customer service hold times skyrocketTravelers report waits of as long as nine hours on Delta, missed callbacks and no ability to directly message the airline on Twitter without tweeting first. Bastian said hours-long wait times are not the norm, and the average wait is about an hour. "Which is, by the way, way too long," he added.