Flight attendants threaten to strike over shutdown

Flight attendant.
Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Flight attendants may soon begin striking as a result of the partial government shutdown, the president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA told New York Magazine.

Why it matters: Republican leadership has been speculating behind the scenes that a crisis at airports could be the factor that breaks the 35-day stalemate between President Trump and Democrats on Capitol Hill. On Friday, the Federal Aviation Administration began limiting flights at airports in New York and Philadelphia, citing staff shortages for air traffic controllers.

Government shutdown strains U.S. aviation system

Airport lines
Denver airport. Photo: John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images

U.S. air travel is under "enormous strain" as a result of the government shutdown, with many lawmakers speculating that total dysfunction could be the breaking point that leads to President Trump and Democrats eventually striking a deal, Politico reports.

The big picture: The shutdown, which is about to enter its fifth week, has disrupted pilot training, is preventing companies from adding new planes, and is "delaying purchases of bag-scanning equipment," according to Politico. Airports are bracing for a bump in air travel over MLK weekend, with TSA expecting 8 million people to fly this weekend — 10% more than last year. This comes as 6.4% of TSA's baggage screeners called out absent from work on Thursday, citing sickness and — increasingly — financial strain.

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