Airline passengers across the United States have faced numerous flight cancellations and delays this weekend, driven by explosive travel demand coupled with widespread staff shortages.
From Friday to Sunday, airlines flying in, to or out of the United States canceled more than 1,400 flights, flight knowledge, a flight-tracking website, stuck and angered some passengers as it headed to its long-awaited summer vacation. Additionally, more than 14,000 flights have been delayed this weekend, according to the website’s data.
Some airlines appear to be having a hard time handling passenger numbers approaching or in some cases even exceeding pre-pandemic levels. On Friday, the Transportation Safety Board tested more passengers – 2.49 million people – more than any other day this year. That number surpassed the 2.18 visitors shown on July 1, 2019, before the pandemic.
The experience has disappointed some passengers on US carriers. On Saturday, 1,048 – or 29% – of Southwest Airlines flights were delayed, and 28% of American Airlines flights were also delayed, according to FlightAware. United Airlines and Delta Air Lines also experienced similar problems, with 21% and 19% of their flights also delayed. On Sundays, in the middle of the holiday weekend, visitors seem to get a respite from the worst of problems.
“Obviously, if your flight is delayed or canceled, it’s a disaster,” Robert W. Mann Jr.a former airline executive who now runs the aviation consulting firm RW Mann & Company.
Mr Mann notes that in a typical month, about 20% of flights are delayed or cancelled. But this holiday weekend, he said, it was up about 30% – up 50%. “It’s a little worse than usual,” he said.
Adding to the pressure on airlines this weekend was a glitch in the pilot scheduling system at American Airlines that forced pilots to drop thousands of flying duties in July. The airline said on Saturday that it did not anticipate any “operating impact” due to the glitch.
But Allied Pilots AssociationAmerican Airlines pilots union, said the airline had unilaterally restored crashed flights without the pilots’ consent. The union said it had pressed the airline to pay an “inconvenience premium” to pilots affected by the scheduling system failure.
In a nod to the disappointment of passengers this summer, Ed Bastian, chief executive officer of Delta Air Lines, issued an apology last week.
“I know many of you may have experienced some, sometimes significant, disruptions to your travel as we build back up from the depths of 2020 while still meeting record demand,” Mr. Bastian wrote in a post on LinkedIn. He added: “While the majority of our flights continue to operate on time, this level of disruption and uncertainty is unacceptable.”
In an email, Morgan Durrant, a spokeswoman for Delta, said the airline was managing “additional factors” of bad weather and air traffic control delays, which affected readiness. flight crews. “The airline has been “working around the clock to make Delta’s operations as flexible as possible to minimize the impact of disruptions,” said Mr. Durrant. “Even so, some operational challenges are expected this weekend.”
As the holiday weekend rolled in, however, a slew of flight problems began to ease. By Sunday night, Delta had canceled just 1% of flights and only 15% of Southwest Airlines flights were delayed, according to FlightAware.
Today, Southwest said it is delivering a “secure, reliable experience across our network with current cancellations less than 10” during the day.
American Airlines and United Airlines did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.