Air travelers face cancellations over Memorial Day weekend

NEW YORK (AP) — Air travelers aren’t just facing sticker shock this Memorial Day weekend, the kickoff of the summer travel season. They also face a backlog of flight cancellations.

More than 1,400 flights have been canceled as of 5:15 p.m. EDT Saturday, according to flight tracking website FlightAware. This followed more than 2,300 cancellations on Friday.

Delta Air Lines suffered the most among US airlines, with more than 240 flights, or 9% of its operations, cut on Saturday. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, where Delta is based and has its largest hub, has been heavily impacted by travel delays. On Saturday, 5% of flights there were canceled, while 11% were delayed.


Delta noted in an email to The Associated Press that Saturday’s cancellations were due to inclement weather and “air traffic control actions,” noting that it tries to cancel flights at least 24 hours in advance. ahead this Memorial Day weekend.

Delta announced on its website Thursday that from July 1 to August 7, it will reduce service by about 100 daily departures, primarily in parts of the United States and Latin America that Delta frequently serves.

“More than ever in our history, the various factors currently impacting our operations – weather and air traffic control, supplier staffing, rising rates of COVID cases contributing to higher unplanned absences than expected in some workgroups – result in an operation that doesn’t always live up to the standards Delta has set for the industry in recent years,” said Allison Ausband, Delta’s director of customer experience, in a statement. message.

Airlines and tourist destinations are anticipating monster crowds this summer as travel restrictions ease and pandemic fatigue overcomes lingering fear of contracting COVID-19 while traveling.

Many forecasters believe that the number of travelers will match or even exceed the levels of the good old pre-pandemic days. However, airlines have thousands fewer employees than in 2019, which has at times contributed to widespread flight cancellations.

People who are only now booking trips for the summer are getting sticker shock.

Domestic airline fares for the summer are averaging more than $400 for a round trip, 24% higher than at this time in 2019, before the pandemic, and 45% higher than there are. a year, according to travel data firm Hopper.

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AP Airlines writer David Koenig in Dallas contributed to this report.

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