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Air travelers face heavy cancellations over Memorial Day weekend

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Southwest Airlines plane taxis at Reagan National Airport in Arlington (Virginia), U.S.A, January 24, 20,22.

Reuters| Reuters

The start to summer travel season is here and airlines travelers face sticker shock. A slew of cancellations is also a problem.

Flight-tracking site FlightAware reports that more than 1,200 flights had been cancelled by Saturday at 2:20 p.m. EDT. After more than 2,300 cancellations Friday, this was the second largest flight cancellation.

Delta Air LinesThe U.S. airline that suffered most was Delta, which lost more than 240 flights or 9 percent of its operation on Saturday. The travel delays were particularly severe at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Atlanta where Delta is located and which has the largest hub. Saturday’s delays caused 5% to cancel and 7% to delay flights.

Delta emailed The Associated Press stating that Saturday’s cancellations are due to weather problems and “air Traffic Control Actions.” The airline also noted it will try to cancel flights 24 hours ahead of Memorial Day Weekend.

Delta made it clear on its website Thursday that service would be reduced by around 100 departures per day, principally in the U.S.A and Latin America areas Delta regularly serves.

“More than any time in our history, the various factors currently impacting our operation — weather and air traffic control, vendor staffing, increased Covid case rates contributing to higher-than-planned unscheduled absences in some workgroups — are resulting in an operation that isn’t consistently up to the standards Delta has set for the industry in recent years,” said Delta’s Chief Customer Experience Officer Allison Ausband in a post.

As travel restrictions relax and Pandemic Fatigue overcomes the lingering fear that Covid-19 might be contracted during travel, airlines and tourist spots are expecting massive crowds.

Forecasters predict that the numbers of tourists will be similar to or exceed levels seen in pre-pandemic years. However, there are thousands less employees at airlines than in 2019 which has sometimes led to flight cancellations.

People are feeling sticker shock if they are just now making summer travel plans.

According to Hopper, domestic airline prices for summer average more than $400 per round trip. This is 24% more than in 2019 before the pandemic and an impressive 45% above a year ago.

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