“Nothing at LaGuardia Airport costs $ 15, but it was better than nothing,” Courchesne, who works for a DC consulting firm on K Street, told The Washington Post. ‘I went and got a bunch of Jolly Ranchers. I figured $ 15 would have covered three family-sized packages, and that’s exactly what happened. “
As tens of millions of Americans are expected to fly or drive during the fourth weekend of July, many are facing summer travel that has been delayed due to flight delays and cancellations, and has become more expensive due to high fuel prices.
An estimated 47.9 million travelers in the United States between Friday and Monday represent an increase of almost 4 percent, compared to last year, according to AAA – approaching the level of summer travel not seen in the country since before the coronavirus pandemic. While the majority of these travelers will be on the road, more than 3.5 million are expected to be on planes, that is, if their flights are not delayed or canceled.
More than 2,800 flights within, in or out of the United States were delayed from Saturday afternoon, according to the flight tracking website FlightAware. Southwest Airlines shows 477 flights delayed on Saturday, which accounts for 13 percent of the total flights, data show. American Airlines shows 390 flights delayed on Saturday, which makes up about 12 percent of the total flights. Delta is on 296 delayed flights, good for about 10 percent of the airline’s flights, according to FlightAware. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport leads in Saturday delays among US airports, followed by Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
More than 600 flights on Saturday have already been canceled, according to FlightAware. American, Delta and United Airlines are leading American airlines for Saturday cancellations.
Flight cancellations stress tired travelers as July 4 approaches
The holiday disruptions come at a time when the aviation industry has promised a renewed focus on reliability. While weather has always been a problem for airlines, the lack of staffing during the pandemic has further hampered carriers’ ability to recover from delays. Several unions representing employees of the airlines have spoken out and held demonstrations to draw attention to the strain on employees. On Thursday, more than 1,200 Delta pilots and employees staged demonstrations at several airports stretching from New York to Los Angeles to demand higher wages.
Analysts with the travel booking app Hopper estimate that domestic flight prices will average $ 437 per return ticket, an increase of 45 percent, compared to 2019. Some of the most popular US destinations this weekend include Las Vegas, Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles and Miami , says Hopper.
“The amount of travelers we expect to see over Independence Day is a clear sign that summer travel is kicking off,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel, in a press release. “People are ready for a break, and despite things costing more, they are finding ways to still take the much-needed vacation.”
Nevertheless, the problems with flights continue, despite the fact that American airlines receive billions in pandemics to keep workers at work. When Americans were ready to fly again, the expectation was that the airlines would be ready for them, especially at a time when the year has been called “revenge travel” by some. More than 2.46 million people were screened last Sunday Transport safety administration officers, the highest volume since February 11, 2020.
Welcome to summer travel. It’s a hell.
But tens of thousands of combined delays and cancellations marred travelers’ celebration of the busy June and Father’s Day weekends last month. Airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration have blamed each other for the flight outage.
Flight cancellations make a busy Father’s Day, June twenty travel weekend
Discussions over flight efficiency escalated this week as Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) Urged Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg and the Department of Transportation to “fine the airlines $ 55,000 per passenger for each flight cancellation they know may not be fully staffed.” ”
“The American people are tired of airlines tearing them down, canceling flights at the last minute and delaying flights for hours,” Sanders twitret.
Buttigieg, who has called on the aviation industry to “deliver” to the American people, said on Saturday that his own connecting plane was canceled on Friday. In a series of tweetsButtigieg said travelers should be “entitled to a cash refund when your flight is canceled.”
“First, the airline offered 2,500 miles, which I estimate is worth around $ 30. But I demanded the refund for the canceled portion instead, and it was $ 112.07,” Buttigieg wrote. often negotiate this. It’s between you and the airline. But you are entitled to a cash refund for canceled flights – this is a requirement that we will continue to enforce. “
While air passengers face reliability issues, millions of travelers still struggle with what they have to pay at the pump.
The national average price for a gallon of gas is $ 4.82 per Saturday, according to AAA, which is slightly down from Friday’s average of $ 4.84. Ten states and the District of Columbia have average rates of $ 5 or more. With an average of $ 6.25 per gallon, California remains the nation’s leader in fuel costs.
AAA estimates that 42 million people will drive this weekend. Even with the high fuel prices, the agency notes that Americans can feel more in control of their arrival by driving instead of flying.
“Traveling by car provides a level of comfort and flexibility that people may be looking for given the recent challenges of flying,” Twidale said.
Courchesne admits she’s one of the lucky ones, and not just because Delta helped fund her Jolly Rancher fix. After she was first told that her journey would be delayed by approx. 28 hours, she said a Delta helpdesk employee was able to book her on a plane late Friday night to get her to Cleveland. She is looking forward to spending time with her grandmother and celebrating some family birthdays, but it will not last long. She is already thinking about her return flight to Washington on Monday – one that includes a new stay at LaGuardia.
“I’m trying to make the fireworks in DC,” she said. “I hope it’s a little smoother to come back, but I have no real plans for that.”
Lori Aratani, Hannah Sampson and James Bikales contributed to this report.