Air travelers across the United States faced widespread flight cancellations and delays this weekend due to increased travel demand and widespread staff shortages.
Between Friday and Sunday, airlines operating flights within, in or out of the United States canceled more than 1,400 flights. FlightAware, A flight tracking website has angered some passengers on their long-awaited summer holiday. In addition, according to the website, more than 14,000 flights have been postponed this holiday weekend.
Some airlines have struggled to manage passenger volumes that are approaching or, in some cases, even surpassing pre-pandemic levels. On Friday, the Transportation Security Administration screened more passengers – 2.49 million people – than any other day this year. This surpassed the 2.18 travelers screened on July 1, 2019, before the pandemic.
The experience was disappointing for some passengers on US carriers. According to FlightAware, 1,048 Southwest Airlines flights, or 29 percent, were delayed Saturday, and 28 percent of American Airlines flights were delayed. United Airlines and Delta Air Lines experienced similar problems, with 21% and 19% of their flights delayed. On Sunday, in the middle of a holiday weekend, travelers got a reprieve from the worst of the problems.
“Obviously, if you have a flight that’s delayed or canceled, it’s a disaster,” he said. Robert W. Mann Jr.a former airline executive who now runs RW Mann & Company.
In an ordinary month, Mr. About 20 percent of flights are delayed or canceled, Mann said. But this holiday weekend, he said, there was an increase of about 30 percent to 50 percent. “It’s a little worse than usual,” he said.
Adding to the pressure on carriers this weekend was a glitch in the pilot scheduling system at American Airlines, which allowed pilots to miss thousands of flight assignments for July. The airline said on Saturday it did not expect any “operational impact” from the outage.
But Allied Pilots Association, the American Airlines pilots union said the airline had unilaterally reinstated canceled flights without the pilots’ consent. The union said it is pressuring the airline to pay an “inconvenience bonus” to pilots affected by problems with the flight scheduling system.
In a sign of mounting passenger frustration this summer, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian issued an apology last week.
“I know many of you may have experienced disruptions to your travels, sometimes significant, as we turn our operations back from deep into 2020 to meet record levels of demand,” he said. Bastian wrote Post on LinkedIn. He added: “While the majority of our flights continue to operate on time, this level of disruption and uncertainty is unacceptable.”
Delta spokeswoman Morgan Durrant said in an email that the airline is managing the “complex factors” of bad weather and air traffic control delays affecting flight crew availability. The airline worked around the clock to make Delta’s operations as continuous as possible to minimize the ripple effect of the outages. Durrant said. “However, some operational issues are expected this holiday weekend.”
As the holiday weekend progressed, the number of flight problems began to decrease. According to FlightAware, Delta canceled only 1 percent of its flights Sunday evening and Southwest Airlines delayed only 15 percent of its flights.
Southwest said Sunday that it was providing a “safe, reliable experience on our network today, with less than 10 total cancellations today.”
American Airlines and United Airlines did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.
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