Travel turbulence expected ahead of Fourth of July weekend amid continued flight cancelations, delays
More than 3.5 million people are expected to travel by air over the holiday weekend: AAA
Travel turmoil is getting worse ahead of the busy holiday weekend as hundreds of flight cancellations and delays in the United States continued into Monday.
The total delays within, into, or out of the United States was nearly 1000 with 700 U.S. flights and more than 2,300 flights, including international flights, canceled as of Monday morning, according to FlightAware.
The company, which provides flight tracking data, also noted that, on Sunday, there were nearly 7,000 flight delays within, into, or out of the U.S. and 867 cancelations within the country.
In a live report on "Mornings with Maria" from Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey on Monday morning, FOX Business’ Lydia Hu noted that around 16% of flights departing from that airport were already canceled.
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Despite all the travel troubles, demand continues to soar even with skyrocketing prices for airfare amid higher fuel prices.
According to data released earlier this month by the Labor Department, airline fares surged in May as more people began to travel with prices soaring 18.6% in the one-month period and 33.3% over the past year — marking the steepest one-month increase since the inception of the report in 1963.
Earlier this month, Hayley Berg, lead economist at mobile travel app Hopper, told Fox News Digital that demand for summer travel is still "strong," noting that "demand has grown 50% faster since the start of the year compared to the first four months of 2019."
Domestic airfare is averaging $404 round-trip, up 40% from $288 this time last year and 26% from $322 round-trip in 2019, Hopper noted earlier this month, adding that international airfare is also seeing a 35% boost from the same time last year and 17% from 2019.
Despite higher prices, the TSA recorded 2,462,097 travelers on Sunday, which is about 300,000 more than the year before and significantly higher than 2020 levels when the number of passengers passing through checkpoints was under one million.
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Airlines for America, an airline industry trade group, sent a letter on Friday to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg saying that the Federal Aviation Administration must ensure adequate air traffic control staffing to avoid further summer travel disruptions.
The letter mentioned that one of the group’s members estimated that air traffic control-related issues were a factor in at least one-third of recent flight cancelations, noting that "staffing challenges have led to traffic restrictions under blue sky conditions."
The FAA responded in a statement sent to Fox News Digital that "people expect when they buy an airline ticket that they’ll get where they need to go safely, efficiently, reliably and affordably."
"After receiving $54 billion in pandemic relief to help save the airlines from mass layoffs and bankruptcy, the American people deserve to have their expectations met," the statement continued.
The FAA also said that the administration has added controllers in high-demand areas as well as alternate routes to help alleviate the situation.
Some pilots, Hu reported, have been blaming airlines for the problems, accusing them of over-scheduling while the companies do not have enough staff.
"The reality is, they scheduled too many flights," Allied Pilots Association spokesman Dennis Tajer said.
"We can decrease that margin of underperformance, but it is not going to get done unless they talk with us."
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Speaking on "Fox & Friends Weekend" last week, Captain Casey Murray, the president of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, warned that summer travel is expected to be "challenging" amid labor shortages and flight cancelations.
Murray, a pilot, stressed that the entire airline industry is facing similar challenges.
Buttigieg held a virtual meeting with airline CEOs two weeks ago to go over steps the airlines are taking to operate smoothly over the Fourth of July holiday weekend and the remainder of summer. The group also discussed ways to improve accommodations for passengers who get stranded when flights are canceled.
To try to help alleviate the situation, the Air Line Pilots Association - the largest pilots union - approved a tentative deal last week that would boost the pay for 14,000 United pilots.
American Automobile Association predicts that 47.9 million people will be traveling 50 miles or more from home by air and car over the holiday weekend, which is an increase of 3.7% compared to 2021 - bringing travel volumes just shy of those seen in 2019.
The association noted that "the biggest surprise" is car travel, which is expected to set a new record despite historically high gas prices, with 42 million people hitting the road.
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AAA told Fox News Digital, Monday, that 3.55 million people are expected to travel by air over the holiday weekend.
"With all the problems that are happening with air travel, not only cancelations, and delays, but also airfares are 14% higher compared to last year…could be the reason we are seeing so many people driving to their holiday destination," Robert Sinclair Jr., AAA Northeast spokesman, told Fox News Digital.
He went on to note that the percentage of those who are traveling by air this year is the lowest since 2011 at 7.4%.
FOX Business’ Daniella Genovese and The Associated Press contributed to this report.