Holiday vacation pushes US airport traffic to pandemic high

BERKELEY, California (AP) – The holiday weekend of the fourth of July is emptying American airports with their largest crowds since the pandemic began in 2020.

About 2.49 million passengers went through security checks at US airports on Friday, surpassing the previous record of the pandemic of 2.46 million reached earlier this week, according to figures. released Saturday by the Transportation Security Administration.

The escalating figures show that leisure travelers are not deterred from flying by rising prices, the ongoing spread of COVID-1[ads1]9 or concerns about repeated flight delays and cancellations.

Friday’s passenger volume marked an increase of 13% from 1 July last year, which fell on the Thursday before 4 July. This year’s number of passengers passing through US airports also overshadowed the 2.35 million that were screened at security checks on the Friday before the fourth of July in 2019, but it was almost a week before Independence Day.

As a more telling sign of how close American flight is on its way back to pre-pandemic conditions, an average of 2.33 million passengers have passed security checks at domestic airports during the seven days ending July 1. It was close to seven days. average of about 2.38 million passengers in the same period in 2019, according to the TSA.

But airlines have struggled to keep up with growing demand amid staff shortages and a host of other problems that have resulted in recurring waves of annoying flight delays and cancellations that have turned some holidays into nightmarish ordeals.

Many airlines, including Delta, Southwest and JetBlue, have responded to the challenge by reducing their summer routes in an effort to reduce the inconvenience – and setbacks – caused by flight delays and cancellations. On average, they use larger aircraft to carry more passengers while fighting to hire and train more pilots.

The headache continued on Friday, although it was not as bad as it has been other times in recent months. More than 6,800 flight delays and a further 587 flight cancellations affected US airports on Friday, according to tracking site FlightAware.

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The problem also came on Saturday, with thunderstorms complicating matters on the east coast and parts of the Midwest. Late Saturday, nearly 4,000 flights were delayed and more than 600 canceled at U.S. airports, according to FlightAware.

In addition to flight delays and cancellations, travelers have also had to pay higher prices for tickets driven by sky-high fuel costs and other inflation factors, as well as navigating around the health risks of persistent COVID-19 infections.

The travel error also overloads the highways, even with the national average price of petrol hovering around $ 5 per gallon – and over $ 6 per gallon in California and all of its popular tourist attractions. AAA predicts that nearly 48 million people will travel at least 50 miles or more from home over the weekend, slightly fewer than in 2019.

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