American Airlines grounds flights for inspections

Friday, April 11th 2008, 8:50 pm
By: News 9

By Amy Lester, NEWS 9

American Airlines canceled nearly 600 flights due to bad weather Friday, leaving stranded travelers frustrated at Will Rogers World Airport.

The carrier said it has canceled flights to complete wiring inspections on its MD-80 jets. That brings the total number of flights scrubbed this week to 3,000 because of the safety checks.

"The gentleman that drove us on the bus said he hadn't had anybody return back to their car, but I guess we'll be his first customer to gripe about American," said Meg Barnes.

Barnes found an alternate flight that put her in the New York six hours later than she planned, and she missed a Broadway play because of the itinerary change.

Another passenger, Mary Jane Rutherford, bought a ticket from Southwest after her American Airlines flight to Dallas was canceled. Her estimated time of arrival is seven hours later than her original flight.

"I'm trying to get to Tampa where I can resume my scheduled flight," Rutherford said. "I will be routed through Miami on standby then into Tampa by 11:30 tonight."

American Airlines canceled more than 35 flights at Will Rogers this week.

"I asked at the United counter if I could get on another airline, she said there were none available because of the situation with American," said Ray Smith after his American flight to Washington DC was delayed three times.

American passengers are taking seats on other airlines.

Jennifer James McCollum, airport spokeswoman, said that Federal Aviation Administration will continue to run safety inspections on some planes from all the airlines.

"Maintain as much flexibility as possible to be open to doing whatever you have to do to accommodate yourself in those situations," James McCollum said.

She advised to travel with an eye toward the possibility of cancellations, noting that the inspection process could last through late June.

Any passengers that are concerned about the status of their flights, can check here.