Fourth of July travelers face thousands of flight delays, cancellations, and rising gas prices across the US

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Isabella Korcheson was about to enjoy an Italian submarine at New York’s LaGuardia Airport when she received an alert familiar to many who travel on the Fourth of July: her flight was delayed.

Korcheson was trying to spend the weekend barbecuing and shopping with the family in Cleveland. I remained patient after seeing about 15 cancellations on the departure board at the airport before her Delta flight was canceled and rescheduled 24 hours later. She said a $15 food voucher from the airline was nice, but the 21-year-old was still wondering if she’d come home — or if she’d hang on to a dessert snack at LaGuardia.

“Nothing at LaGuardia Airport costs $15, but it’s better than nothing,” Korchesen, who works for a DC consulting firm on K Street, told The Washington Post. “I went and got a set of Jolly Ranchers. I thought $15 would cover three family-sized packages, and that’s exactly what happened.”

As tens of millions of Americans are expected to travel or drive on the Fourth of July weekend, many are faced with a summer trip slowed by flight delays and cancellations, and the cost of higher fuel prices increasing.

It is estimated that 47.9 million passengers in the United States between Friday and Monday represented a nearly 4 percent increase over last year, according to AAA It is approaching the level of summer travel that the country has not seen since before the coronavirus pandemic. While most of these travelers will be on the way, more than 3.5 million passengers are expected to be on planes, that is, if their flights are not delayed or canceled.

More than 3,800 flights within, within or outside the United States were postponed until late Saturday afternoon, according to the flight-tracking website. FlightAware. Southwest Airlines was showing 715 delayed flights on Saturday, which represents 20 percent of its total flights, the data shows. American Airlines was showing 643 flight delays, which is 20 percent of its total flights. According to FlightAware, Delta had delayed 368 flights, which is good for 13 percent of the airline’s flights. Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport leads the way in delays Saturday between US airports, followed by Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

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More than 2,200 flights were canceled on Saturday, according to FlightAware. US carriers, Delta and United lead the way among US carriers to cancel on Saturday.

Flight cancellations put pressure on weary travelers as July 4 approaches

The holiday disruptions come at a time when the airline industry has experienced Pledge to renew focus on reliability. While weather has always been an issue for airlines, staff shortages during the pandemic have hampered the airlines’ ability to recover from delays. Several unions representing airline workers spoke out and held demonstrations to draw attention to the pressure on staff. On Thursday, more than 1,200 Delta pilots and employees staged demonstrations at several airports stretching from New York to Los Angeles to demand higher wages.

On Saturday, the Allied Pilots Association, the American Airlines Guild, said a glitch in the scheduling software the night before allowed pilots to drop missions, potentially leading to staff shortages on more than 12,000 flights a month. The airline said “the vast majority of affected flights” have been restored and that there was no anticipated impact on operations.

Analysts with travel booking app Huber They expect the average domestic airfare to come in at $437 per round-trip ticket, a 45 percent increase, compared to 2019. Some of the most popular US destinations this weekend include Las Vegas, Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles and Miami, Huber says.

“The volume of travelers we expect to see during Independence Day is a sure sign that summer travel is taking off very quickly,” said Paula Tweedal, Vice President of AAA Travel in a press release. “People are ready for a vacation, and even though things cost more, they are finding ways to keep taking that much-needed vacation.”

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Still, problems with air travel persist, despite US airlines receiving billions in pandemic relief money to keep workers in their jobs. When Americans were ready to fly again, the expectation was that airlines would be ready for them, especially during a period that some have dubbed common. “Vengeance Travel”. More than 2.46 million people were screened last Sunday by Transportation Security Administration Officers, the largest volume since February 11, 2020.

Welcome to summer travel. It’s hell.

But tens of thousands of delays and cancellations combined spoiled travelers’ celebration of Juneteenth weekend and Father’s Day last month. Airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration have blamed each other for disrupting air travel.

Flights canceled busy Father’s Day, travel weekend in June

The debate about the efficiency of air travel escalated this week when Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called on Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and the Department of Transportation to “fine airlines $55,000 per passenger for every flight cancellation they know cannot be fully staffed.”

“The American people are tired of airlines tearing them up, canceling flights at the last minute and delaying flights for hours on end,” Sanders said. chirp.

Buttigieg, who called the aviation industry “to reachTo the American people, he recounted on Saturday about canceling his Friday connecting flight. in a series of TweetsButtigieg said travelers should be entitled to “cashback when your flight is cancelled.”

“Initially, the airline offered 2,500 miles, which I estimate is worth about $30. But I demanded a refund for the canceled portion instead, and that worked out to be $112.07,” Buttigieg wrote. “Airlines offer miles as compensation for some travel issues, and you can often negotiate this. This is between you and the airline. But you are entitled to a refund for canceled flights – and that is a requirement we will continue to implement.”

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Passengers in Frankfurt, Germany and London faced long delays and baggage overcrowding on July 1, as airlines struggled to manage “large passenger numbers”. (Video: The Washington Post)

While airline passengers face reliability issues, the millions who travel overland still struggle with what they have to push at the pump.

The average price for a gallon of gas nationwide was $4.82 as of Saturday, according to a report AAA, which is slightly lower than Friday’s average of $4.84. Average prices in ten states and the District of Columbia are $5 or more. With an average of $6.25 a gallon, California still leads the state in fuel cost.

AAA estimates 42 million people will be driving this weekend. Even with higher fuel prices, the agency notes, Americans may feel more in control of their access by driving rather than flying.

“Traveling by car offers a level of comfort and flexibility that people may be looking for given the recent challenges of flying,” Twidale said.

Korcheson admits she’s one of the lucky ones, and not just because Delta helped fund the Jolly Rancher overhaul. After she was initially told her travel would be delayed by about 28 hours, she said a Delta help desk employee was able to book her on a late Friday night flight to take her to Cleveland. She is looking forward to spending time with her grandmother and celebrating some family birthdays, but it won’t last long. She’s already thinking about her trip back to Washington on Monday – a trip that includes another stop at LaGuardia.

“I’m trying to make fireworks in the capital,” she said. “Hopefully the comeback will be smoother, but I’m not really planning on that.”

Laurie Aratani, Hannah Sampson, James Beccalis, and Meryl Kornfield contributed to this report.

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