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Why Are So Many Flights Getting Delayed Or Cancelled? Here's What We Know

By Gina Florio··  2 min read
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If you feel like you've been watching tons of flights get delayed or cancelled recently, you're not the only one and it's definitely not in your head.

This last weekend, there were 10,000 flight delays and cancellations around the country. Friday was also the busiest day of the year for air travel. More than 2.4 million people passed through TSA security on Friday and 2.1 million on Saturday. But all the issues and cancellations are leaving people wondering what on earth is going on.

Why Are So Many Flights Getting Delayed or Cancelled? Here's What We Know

The US isn't the only country dealing with flight delays and cancellations. Around the world there were an additional 3,500 flights canceled and 23,000 delayed over the weekend. Experts say that we're seeing very high numbers of passengers since the pandemic began and travel was restricted.

The two airlines that are seeing the most cancellations are Delta (7%) and United (3%). Atlanta and both airports in New York City have the highest number of cancellations.

A spokesperson from Delta, Emily Cashdan, told USA TODAY that there are many different factors as to why these cancellations are happening. "A variety of factors continue to impact our operations, including challenges with air traffic control, weather and unscheduled absences in some work groups. Canceling a flight is always our last resort, and we sincerely apologize to our customers for the inconvenience to their travel plans," she said.

"This has been another travel Armageddon weekend," James Ferrara, co-founder and president of InteleTravel, told USA TODAY. "But it's not isolated, or really a surprise." He also said there's a high loss of skilled positions, like pilots and aircrew. This is "really what's driving" the cancellations. Apparently, the pilot unions aren't replacing the pilots fast enough. However, it's unclear as to why so many pilots are leaving.

"We're in a boom time for travel. We're blowing away all records all previous years. So you've got this surge in demand, and you've got limitations on staffing," Ferrara added. Ferrara also guessed that this boom will continue to surge through the summer.  

Fourth of July weekend is expected to see ongoing shortages of pilots, flight crew, and even aircrafts. If you're planning to travel by air, you may want to brace yourself for cancellations or at least delays.

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