A worker shortage at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport became so severe last month that one of its top executives sent a message to shops and restaurants: Don’t steal each other’s employees.

“As you know, we are experiencing one of the greatest hiring challenges in the history of DFW Airport,” Ken Buchanan, executive vice president of revenue management and customer experience, wrote to concessionaires in a May 27 letter reviewed by CNBC. “As we prepare for a busy summer, please continue to practice DFW Airport’s high standards of hiring operations and refrain from soliciting employees from other DFW operations (‘poaching’).”

After more than a year of coronavirus pandemic lockdowns, travelers busting out of their homes for vacation have been met with long security lines, hourslong hold times with airlines and fewer options at the airport for everything from coffee to fried chicken sandwiches because of understaffing.

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