Air travelers experiencing thousands of delayed flights on July Fourth weekend
By: Ethan Tu
During the Fourth of July weekend there were record-breaking numbers of people preparing to board flights but, unfortunately, also a significant amount of flight delays and cancellations.
On Friday, June 1st, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screened almost 2.5 million people at airport security checkpoints nationwide. That is the highest checkpoint volume since February 11, 2020, before the pandemic, when 2,507,588 people were screened.
According to the flight tracker, FlightAware, on Friday, 464 U.S. domestic and international flights were canceled and more than 6,600 were delayed. This is equal to 28.8% of all scheduled flights. On Saturday, there were 5,893 delays and 655 canceled flights within, into, or out of the U.S. Over 930 flights were delayed Sunday morning, and more than 200 were canceled, according to FlightAware. Airlines have blamed understaffing for flight cancellations and delays.
For those impacted by flight cancellations, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, whose flight home also got canceled, posted in a tweet saying, “sometimes an airline will offer you points or miles as compensation, but you are entitled to a cash refund when your flight is canceled.” He added that the estimated worth of miles is around 1 to 2 cents per mile.
The airports reporting the most cancellations and delays are JFK Internal Airport in New York, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and Chicago O’Hare International Airport.
As more people take to the skies for summer vacations, the TSA expects the high volume of screenings to continue until Labor Day. David Pekoske, TSA administrator, said “first couple days in August are going to be very busy. Once you get into the middle part of August and past Labor Day things get a little bit more calm.” Experts expect the wave of cancellations and delays to stabilize by the fall as airlines reduce their flights and try to hire more pilots and airline workers.
There were also many traveling by car on the busy Fourth of July weekend who also faced challenges. Around 42 million Americans traveled on the road, where gas prices were extremely high. The nationwide average for one gallon of gas was $4.81, the most it has ever been on July 4th. In Los Angeles, the prices per gallon are even higher. One driver spent $120 to fill up his tank. Shocked and speechless, he said “That's more than I’ve ever spent on gasoline, ever. Shocking”