Fourth of July travelers face thousands of flight delays, cancellations, and higher gas prices across the United States

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Isabella Courchesne was about to enjoy an Italian sub at New York’s LaGuardia Airport when she got an alert familiar to many Fourth of July travelers: her flight was delayed.

Courchesne spent a weekend in Cleveland grilling and shopping with family. He patiently watched as his own Delta Air Lines flight was canceled and rescheduled 24 hours later at the airport’s departures board, where about 15 flights were canceled. A $15 meal voucher from the airline was nice, but the 21-year-old was wondering if she’d make it home — or keep eating candy at LaGuardia.

“Nothing at LaGuardia Airport costs $15, but it’s better than nothing,” Courchesne, who works at a DC consulting firm on K Street, told The Washington Post. “I went and gathered the jolly farmers. I figured $15 would cover three family-sized packs, and that’s what happened.

With tens of thousands of Americans expected to fly or drive over the Fourth of July weekend, many face summer travel that has slowed due to flight delays and cancellations, and been made more expensive by higher fuel prices.

There were an estimated 47.9 million passengers in the U.S. between Friday and Monday, an increase of nearly 4 percent compared to last year. AAA – The country is approaching levels of summer travel not seen before the coronavirus pandemic. While most of those travelers are on the road, more than 3.5 million are expected to be on planes, unless their flights are delayed or canceled.

As of Saturday afternoon, more than 3,800 flights were delayed in, out of, or in the United States, according to the Flight Tracker website. FlightAware. Southwest Airlines reported 715 flight delays on Saturday 20 A percentage of its total trips, the data shows. American Airlines reported 643 flights delayed, about 20 percent of its total flights. According to FlightAware, Delta had 368 delayed flights, good for 13 percent of the airline’s trips. Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport led the U.S. airports with the most delays Saturday, followed by Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

More than 2,200 flights were canceled Saturday, according to FlightAware. American, Delta and United Airlines are the leading US carriers with cancellations on Saturday.

Flight cancellations are stressful for weary travelers as the 4th of July approaches

Holiday disruptions come just in time for the airline industry Ensure a renewed focus On reliability. While weather has always been an issue for airlines, staff shortages during pandemics further hinder carriers’ ability to recover from delays. Several unions representing airline workers staged demonstrations to call attention to the pressure on workers. On Thursday, more than 1,200 Delta pilots and employees staged protests at several airports from New York to Los Angeles to demand higher wages.

On Saturday, the Allied Pilots Association, the American airline union, said a scheduling software glitch the night before had allowed pilots to abandon missions and could result in more than 12,000 fewer flights for the month. The airline said the “majority of affected flights” had been rescheduled and there was no expected impact on operations.

Explorers with travel booking apps Hopper Compared to 2019, domestic airfare will be $437 for a round-trip ticket, a 45 percent increase. This weekend includes Las Vegas, Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles and Miami, Hopper says.

“The number of travelers we expect on Independence Day is a sure sign that summer travel is kicking into high gear,” Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel, said in a news release. “People are ready for retirement, and even though things are more expensive, they’re still finding ways to take a much-needed vacation.”

Even as U.S. airlines receive billions in pandemic relief funds to keep workers on the job, problems with air travel continue. When Americans were ready to fly again, there was an expectation that airlines would be ready for them, especially during what some call the year. “Vengeance Voyage.” More than 2.46 million people were screened last Sunday Transportation Safety Administration Officers, Feb. 11, 2020 after the highest number.

Welcome to summer travel. It’s hell.

But tens of thousands of combined delays and cancellations hit travelers over the busy Juneteenth and Father’s Day weekends last month. Airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration blamed each other for the air traffic ban.

Flights are canceled during the busy Father’s Day and Juneteenth travel weekend

This week Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and the Department of Transportation that “the debate surrounding air travel capacity rose when they learned that a passenger would be fined $55,000 for every flight cancellation.”

“The American people are sick of airlines ripping them off, canceling flights at the last minute and delaying flights for hours,” Sanders said. Tweeted.

Buttigieg called on the aviation industry to “to provide“For the American people, he described the cancellation of his own connecting flight on Friday. In a series Tweets“When your flight is canceled, passengers are entitled to a refund,” Buttigieg said.

“Initially, the airline offered 2,500 miles, which I estimate was worth about 30 bucks. But instead I requested a refund for the canceled portion, which was $112.07,” Buttigieg wrote. “Airlines compensate for some travel issues with miles, and You can often negotiate this. That is between you and the airline. But you are entitled to a refund for canceled flights – we will continue to process it.

Passengers in Frankfurt, Germany and London faced long delays and piles of luggage on July 1 as they struggled to manage “overflows”. (Video: The Washington Post)

While air travelers face reliability issues, millions of road travelers are still dealing with paying at the pump.

The national average price for a gallon of gas as of Saturday was $4.82 AAA, down slightly from Friday’s average of $4.84. Ten states and the District of Columbia have an average price of $5 or more. At an average of $6.25 a gallon, California still leads the nation in fuel costs.

AAA estimates that 42 million people will drive this weekend. Even with high fuel prices, the company notes that Americans can limit their visits by driving instead of flying.

“Car travel offers the convenience and flexibility that people are looking for given the recent challenges in flying,” Twidale said.

Courchesne admits he was one of the lucky ones, if only because Delta sponsored his Jolly Rancher fix. After initially being told his trip would be delayed about 28 hours, he said a Delta help-desk employee was able to book him on a late-night flight to Cleveland on Friday. He’s looking forward to spending time with his grandmother and celebrating some family birthdays, but that won’t last long. She’s already thinking about her return flight to Washington on Monday — which will include another layover in LaGuardia.

“I’m trying to make fireworks in DC,” he said. “I’m hoping it’ll be a little smoother to get back, but I’m not really planning on it.”

Lori Aratani, Hannah Sampson, James Bikales and Meryl Kornfield contributed to this report.

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