“Nothing at LaGuardia Airport costs $15, but it was better than nothing,” Courchesne, who works at a D.C. consulting firm on K Street, told The Washington Post. “I went and bought a bunch of Jolly Ranchers. I figured $15 would pay for three family-sized packages, and it did.
As tens of millions of Americans are expected to fly or drive for the Fourth of July weekend, many are facing summer travel slowed by flight delays and cancellations and made more expensive by higher fuel prices.
There were about 47.9 million travelers in the U.S. between Friday and Monday, an increase of about 4 percent over last year. AAA – approaching the level of summer travel not seen in the country since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. While the bulk of those travelers will be on the road, more than 3.5 million are expected to be on planes, unless their flights are delayed or canceled.
As of Saturday afternoon, more than 3,800 flights within, into or out of the United States were delayed, according to a flight tracking website. FlightAware. Southwest Airlines had flight 715 delayed on Saturday Data shows that 20 percent of his total visits. American Airlines reported 643 flight delays, or 20 percent of its total trips. According to FlightAware, Delta had 368 delayed flights, good for 13 percent of the airline’s trips. Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport leads US airports in Saturday delays, followed by Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
According to FlightAware, more than 2,300 flights were canceled on Saturday. American, Delta and United Airlines lead US carriers in terms of cancellations on Saturday.
The break in the holiday comes at a time when the airline industry he promised to renew his focus about reliability. While weather has always been a problem for airlines, staffing shortages during the pandemic have further hampered carriers’ ability to recover from delays. Several unions representing airline workers have spoken out and staged demonstrations to draw attention to the strain on workers. On Thursday, more than 1,200 Delta pilots and workers demonstrated at several airports from New York to Los Angeles to demand higher wages.
On Saturday, the Allied Pilots Association, the union for American Airlines, said a glitch in the previous night’s scheduling software allowed pilots to miss assignments, potentially disrupting more than 12,000 flights for the month. The airline said the “vast majority of affected flights” had been restored and there was no expected impact on operations.
Analysts with travel booking software Hopper Hopper says domestic airfare is projected to average $437 per round-trip ticket, a 45 percent increase from 2019. Some of the most popular US destinations this weekend are Las Vegas, Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles and Miami.
“The number of travelers we expect to see on Independence Day is a sure sign that summer travel is moving into high gear,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel. “People are ready for a break, and even though it’s expensive, they’re still finding ways to take a much-needed vacation.”
Despite billions in pandemic relief for US airlines to keep workers on the job, problems with air travel persist. When Americans are ready to fly again, the expectation is that airlines will be ready for them, especially during what some call the year. “Vengeance Voyage.” More than 2.46 million people were checked last Sunday Transportation Security Administration officers, the highest volume since February. 11, 2020.
But tens of thousands of combined delays and cancellations prevented travelers from celebrating the busy June and Father’s Day weekends last month. Airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration blamed each other for the air travel disruption.
Debate over the efficiency of air travel this week Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called on Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and the Department of Transportation to “fine a passenger $55,000 for canceling every flight they know cannot be fully staffed.”
“The American people are fed up with airlines ripping them off, canceling flights at the last minute and delaying flights for hours,” Sanders said. he tweeted.
Buttigieg, who called the airline industry “deliver“For the American people, he said his connecting flight on Saturday was canceled on Friday. A number tweetsButtigieg said travelers “should have the right to a cash refund if your flight is cancelled.”
“At first the airline offered 2,500 miles, which I think is worth about $30. But instead I requested a refund for the canceled portion and it was $112.07,” Buttigieg wrote. “Airlines offer miles as compensation for some travel issues, and you can often negotiate that. It’s between you and the airline. However, you are entitled to a refund for canceled flights – a claim we will continue to enforce.
While airline passengers face reliability issues, millions of people traveling by road still struggle with what they have to pay at the pump.
As of Saturday, the national average price for a gallon of gas is $4.82 AAA, which is slightly below Friday’s average of $4.84. Ten states and the District of Columbia have average prices of $5 or more. At an average of $6.25 a gallon, California still leads the nation in gas prices.
AAA estimates 42 million people will drive this weekend. Despite high fuel prices, the agency notes that Americans have more control over their arrivals by driving instead of flying.
“Traveling by car provides a level of comfort and convenience that people have been looking for in recent times given the challenges associated with flying,” Twidale said.
Courchesne admits he’s one of the lucky ones, and not just because Delta helped fund his Jolly Rancher renovation. After initially being told his trip would be delayed about 28 hours, he said a Delta help desk employee was able to book him on a Friday night flight to get him to Cleveland. He’s looking forward to spending time with his grandmother and celebrating some family birthdays, but that won’t last long. He’s already thinking about a return flight to Washington on Monday — one that includes another layover at LaGuardia.
“I’m trying to do fireworks in DC,” he said. “Hopefully it will be a little easier to come back, but I really don’t plan on it.”
Lori Aratani, Hannah Sampson, James Bikales and Meryl Kornfield contributed to this report.
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