Thousands of flights will be delayed or canceled as travel begins July 4

Thousands of flights will be delayed or canceled as travel begins July 4
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Travelers across the country faced canceled or delayed flights on Saturday as airlines and airports grappled with a combination of high demand, inclement weather and staff shortages.

As of late Saturday afternoon, more than 600 flights in the United States had been canceled and nearly 4,400 flights were delayed within, into or out of the country. according to flight tracking website FlightAware.

While the number of problem flights was higher than on a typical travel day, travel demand was also higher. According to the Traffic Safety Authoritythe number of travelers on the bank holiday weekend on July 4th had reached the pre-pandemic level. Travel demand over the same holiday weekend last year had rebounded significantly from the pandemic lows but was still below this year’s levels.

FlightAware data showed that the three US airports hardest hit by cancellations and delays on Saturday were Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and North Carolina’s Charlotte Douglas International Airport were.

The number of canceled and delayed flights was well below levels seen over the past Christmas and New Year holiday, when inclement weather and Omicron-related staffing shortages disrupted airline schedules.

Still, airlines are struggling to keep up with demand on this July 4 holiday as they struggle with pilot shortages, weather conditions and air traffic control delays.

“Delta teams continue to come safely through the compounding factors of inclement weather and air traffic control delays impacting flight crew available duty hours,” a spokesman for Delta Air Lines said in an email. “Flight cancellation is always our last resort and we sincerely apologize to our customers for any disruption to their travel plans.”

Delta said it is offering customers the ability to reschedule flights July 1-4 without a fare change when traveling between the same origin and destination.

United Airlines also blamed weather and air traffic control programs for the delays.

Adding to the stress at American Airlines was a computer glitch in the pilot’s travel trading system, which the airline said allowed some travel trading that “should not have been allowed.” However, American said it “did not expect any operational impact from this issue,” adding that the “main reasons for delays/cancellations” on Saturday were “weather and traffic control issues.”

The Federal Aviation Administration said the leading cause of flight delays and cancellations is weather conditions, followed by travel demand. The agency added in a statement, “The FAA has responded to the issues raised by airlines and is working with them to share information to allow aircraft to move safely when weather and other airspace events limit capacity.” The agency has also added alternate routes and placed more controllers in high demand areas and increased data sharing.

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