Travelers are returning to airports in record pre-pandemic numbers this July 4 bank holiday weekend but continue to face thousands of flight delays and cancellations, data shows.
The Transportation Security Administration screened 2,490,490 passengers at airport security checkpoints on Friday — the most since Feb. 11, 2020, when it screened more than 2.5 million passengers. Agency spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein tweeted on Saturday.
On the same day, 464 US domestic and international flights were canceled and more than 6,600 were delayed, according to flight tracker FlightAware, which found this accounted for 28.8% of scheduled flights overall.
More than 930 flights within, to or from the United States were delayed and more than 200 canceled as of Sunday morning, FlightAware said. New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and Chicago O’Hare International Airport had the highest rates of delays and cancellations.
According to FlightAware, 53 flights to or from the United States had already been canceled for July 4 as of Sunday morning.
Sunday’s cancellations followed Saturday’s 5,893 delays and 655 cancellations within, to or from the United States
The July 4 weekend flight cancellations and delays also follow those of June 16 and Father’s Day weekend, which included the busiest air travel day of the year leading up to Friday and had more than 3,300 flight cancellations from Friday through Monday, and Memorial Day weekend with about 2,700 Flights have been cancelled.
Staff shortages, and pilot shortages in particular, have prompted some airlines to preemptively cancel thousands of flights for the summer season.
Airline executives have blamed understaffing at the Federal Aviation Administration for flight cancellations and delays. The FAA denied the claim in a statement.
In an interview with The Associated Press last month, Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg said he wanted to see how air travel fared over the Fourth of July weekend and the rest of the summer before determining whether his department would take enforcement action against airlines.
Buttigieg tweeted Saturday allowing passengers to request refunds for canceled flights, noting in one thread that his own connecting flight Friday night was canceled and that he was asking for a $112 refund.
“Airlines offer miles as compensation for some travel issues, and that’s often negotiable. It’s between you and the airline,” Buttigieg tweeted. “But you are entitled to cash refunds for canceled flights – that’s a requirement we will continue to enforce.”
FlightAware spokeswoman Kathleen Bangs said she expects the wave of cancellations to stabilize by the fall as airlines scale back schedules and aim to hire more pilots and other airline employees.