BY: Jarone Ashkenazi
AAA’s travel forecast predicts that this Fourth of July holiday to be the busiest ever. As such, Americans with travel plans better be ready for a big travel rush and a higher probability of flight delays and cancellations.
According to the forecast, 50.7 million travelers will journey more than 50 miles from home, breaking the previous record set in 2019, of more than 49 million people.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) also added that they anticipate Thursday and Friday to be the busiest for air travel. They anticipate roughly 2.8 million passengers departing on Friday.
Whether it has been due to weather-related issues, staffing shortages at airlines, and air traffic controller insufficiencies, flight disruptions have been occurring over the past week and surely will spill over to the long holiday weekend.
Air travel tracking website FlightAware published that 30,566 flights into or out of the U.S. were delayed and 2,053 were canceled on Wednesday. Tuesday’s data showed 28,770 total delays and 2,845 cancellations while Monday had 32,187 flight delays and 2,915 cancellations.
The airline impacted the most over this period has been United Airlines with 14 percent of its flights canceled and 25 percent delayed.
While CEO Scott Kirby publicly pointed the finger at the FAA, criticizing the shortage of air traffic controllers, passengers have shared other concerns. From long wait times on hold, long lines at the airport, mishandled baggage and lack of clear information from the airline are the most commonly reported issues.
The weather over the past week has definitely not helped travelers, as smoke from Canadian wildfires, an oppressive heat wave across the southern U.S., and rain and thunderstorms headed for the East Coast have all impacted flights.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg however decided to put a positive spin on the circumstance in that, “we’ve seen the system perform much better than it did a year ago,” he said. “I think that reflects the work we’ve done. I think it reflects the airlines stepping up. I want to give them credit where credit is due. But clearly, there’s a long way to go.”
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