This Memorial Day weekend is the start of the summer travel season, and airline travelers will be experiencing sticker shock. A slew of cancellations is also a problem.
According to FlightAware, more than 1,400 flights had been canceled by Saturday at 5:15 p.m. EDT. This cancellation follows more than 2,300 cancellations Friday.
Delta Air Lines was the worst affected airline in America, with over 240 flights (or 9%) being cancelled on Saturday. The travel delays were particularly severe at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Atlanta, where Delta is based. Saturday saw a 5% cancellation rate and 11% delay.
Delta emailed The Associated Press to inform them that Saturday's cancellations were caused by bad weather and "air Traffic Control Actions." It also stated that it is trying to cancel flights at minimum 24 hours before Memorial Day weekend.
On Thursday, Delta announced that it would cut service by approximately 100 daily departures from July 1 through August 7. This was mainly in areas of the U.S.A and Latin America that Delta frequents.
"More than ever in our history, the many factors currently impacting the operation -- weather, air traffic control and vendor staffing, increased COVID cases rates contributing to higher-than planned unscheduled absents in some work group -- are resulting an operation that's not consistently up to the industry standards Delta has set in recent years," Allison Ausband, Chief Customer Experience Officer at Delta, stated in a blog post.
As travel restrictions relax and pandemic fatigue is overcome, airlines and tourist destinations anticipate massive crowds this summer.
Forecasters predict that the number of travelers will be similar to or exceed levels in pre-pandemic years. However, airlines now have thousands fewer employees in 2019 than in 2019. This has sometimes led to flight cancellations.
People who have just booked summer travel are feeling sticker shock.
According to Hopper, domestic airline fares are on average more than $400 round-trip for summer, which is 24% higher than the time before the pandemic and a solid 45% above a year ago.