What travelers can expect during airmageddon on July 4th

As the US prepares for what some in the industry are calling “airmageddon,” travelers are bracing for a possible meltdown at airlines, airports, and security and customs checkpoints, not to mention hotels and hotel services.

AAA predicts that about 42 million Americans will drive 50 miles or more.

But the sticking point: 3.5 million people are said to be flying this bank holiday weekend. Flight fares cost an average of 14% more, and in some markets have quadrupled. And hotel prices are up a whopping 23% since 2021.

And all of this is happening while the major airlines and travel players are bickering with each other Delays and Cancellations. The airlines are Blame it on the Federal Aviation Administration When it comes to delays, the FAA claims that airlines have flight schedules that they cannot physically support. Pilots blame the airlines for increased workloads and flying hours, which they say could pose a safety issue, passenger complaints against airlines are up 300% from 2019, and the US Department of Transportation is considering options for creating emergency regulations.

Flight cancellations and delays ensure holiday trips


London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports are preemptively canceling flights and government officials are considering introducing fare increases for planes scheduled to operate during peak hours.

And travelers at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Frankfurt and Dublin have experienced hours of queues, thousands of flight cancellations and thousands of missing and lost bags.

In the US, the DOT reported that airlines lost or mishandled 21% more bags this year than last year.

Earlier this week, Delta issued an unprecedented “air waiver” to its customers on July 4, citing “operational challenges.” The airline admitted it expected difficulties in meeting its schedule over the next four days – which means not having enough pilots, flight attendants, baggage handlers and other staff to staff all of its scheduled flights, among other things – and encouraged travellers rebook on other flights and other days without incurring any fees or penalties. The airline essentially asked its passengers not to fly. To date, no other US airline has achieved this waiver.

Many US airlines continue to blame air traffic control center staff, whose employees are employees of the Federal Aviation Administration. But the US Department of Transportation says most airline delays have nothing to do with the centers’ staffing. Airlines are also parking dozens of 50-seat regional jets because they don’t have the pilots to fly them — and because the planes are unprofitable to operate at current fuel prices. Translation: U.S. secondary market cities like Ithaca, New York, and Toledo, Ohio, will have severely limited — or in some cases no — air service through Labor Day.

In the US, the DOT is considering financial consequences for airlines that publish unrealistic flight schedules – and the rules could force airlines to show they can support flights with the proper allocation of staff before they are allowed to plan those flights. They are also talking about charging airlines more to schedule flights at peak hours of 8am or 5pm – known as congestion pricing – and are considering asking airlines to shift 30% of their flights to 8pm and 12pm because of night flights fewer delays.

But while airlines are canceling flights and cutting frequencies, Amtrak is a bright spot in travel, expanding its schedules and using trains more frequently as more passengers switch to trains for short- and medium-haul trips. And while AAA reports the total number of Americans expected to drive this weekend, they didn’t estimate how many people will be in each car — and that number has also risen as airfares have risen dramatically again. It’s not just getting crowded on the streets, but also in the cars.

A second glimmer of hope: Future flight, hotel and resort bookings for after September 15 have fallen off a cliff. One reason for this is seasonality – kids are back in school, parents are back at work. But high travel costs for the summer of 2022 could mean that when September rolls around, many Americans will be traveling for the rest of the year. Those looking for better fares and more frequent flyer award seats might find bookings from September through December 15 cheaper.