Better late than never
Haha, oops – that last-minute gift for your cousin probably isn’t going to make it in time to win you the best relative award.
Although Amazon launched Prime Air, its own airline service, your packages may not arrive in a timely fashion. Union workers for the airline’s subsidiaries are warning consumers that since the shipping service is seriously understaffed and inexperienced, they might not be able to meet holiday shipping demands.
Wait, strike that
In November, hundreds of pilots went on strike, grounding over 75 Prime Air flights. But a recently granted restraining order will temporarily prevent pilots who fly Amazon shipments from striking. In response, the Airline Professional Association launched CanAmazonDeliver.com, a site detailing their grievances with Amazon’s management of the airline program.
Pilots say the airline doesn’t “have enough pilots to meet the demands of Amazon because their experienced pilots are leaving for better jobs at other airlines.”
Short-staffing and heightened customer demands around the holidays almost certainly spells disaster for the airline.
Drones for the holidays?
However, Amazon made its first Prime Air delivery via drone on December 7th this year.
They may not have enough qualified humans willing to work overtime for pennies, but there sure are robots.
Amazon claims their drones can “safely get packages to customers in 30 minutes or less using unmanned aerial vehicles,” effectively eliminating the need for pilots.
But don’t count on the drones this year. Though the private trial in the UK went well, Amazon hasn’t set a hard launch date for the drone program. They note it won’t be an option for customers until they have “the regulatory support needed to safely realize our vision.” Potential threats to the drone’s safety? See: snow, ice, rain — major players in winter weather.
For now, Amazon may need to focus on its human elements, improving their airline program to ensure pilots are not only treated well, but also well-qualified for the job. So look to the skies for drones in the future, and for now, cross your fingers that belated gifts won’t make you a Grinch.