Travel for the Fourth of July weekend has begun, sending airlines into a whirlwind as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides and transportation returns to normal.
By 11 p.m. EST Saturday, there were 653 cancellations within, into or departing the United States, according to the flight-tracking website FlightAware. Saturday delays totaled 5,490 nationwide, creating a cascading effect for flyers with layovers.
An influx of people were expected to hit the road for the holiday weekend. AAA projected that 47.9 million people will travel between Friday and Monday, and about 3.55 million of them are expected to fly.
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|DAL||DELTA AIR LINES INC.||38.05||+1.12||+3.03%|
|AAL||AMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP INC.||13.02||+0.59||+4.75%|
|LUV||SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO.||26.69||+1.12||+4.38%|
Staffing challenges and weather, combined with increased travel demand after the pandemic, has strained the nation's flight infrastructure.
More than 7,100 flights into, out of and across the United States were delayed and another 535 were canceled Friday.
Over the past week, thousands of flights have been disrupted even after carriers cut 15% of the flights they planned for over the peak summer months — June through August — to make the remaining flights more reliable, according to Airlines for America CEO Nicholas Calio.
The increased pressure has put airlines in desperate situations — with one airline handing out major paydays to anyone willing to get off an overbooked plane.
Delta Air Lines reportedly offered passengers $10,000 to get off an overbooked flight from Michigan to Minnesota, passengers claimed.
Inc. magazine tech columnist Jason Aten wrote that he was on a flight with his family when a flight attendant asked for volunteers over the intercom.
In a statement to The Hill, a Delta spokesperson would not confirm whether the incident took place, but the spokesperson said there is compensation for ground staff when circumstances like it occur.