Air travelers face cancellations over Memorial Day weekend

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NEW YORK Airline passengers are not only experiencing sticker shock but also the start of the summer travel season. They also have to deal with a slew of cancellations.

More ,500 flights had been cancelled as of Saturday at 9: 50 EDT, according to FlightAware. This was in addition to more than 2 ,300 cancellations that occurred on Friday.

Delta Air Lines suffered the most among U.S. airlines, with more than 250 flights, or 9% of its operations, eliminated on Saturday. The airport where Delta is based, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Atlanta, was the worst affected. On Saturday, 5% of the flights there were canceled, while 16% were delayed.

Delta informed The Associated Press in an email that Saturday’s cancellations were due “air traffic control actions” and bad weather. It also stated that it is trying to cancel flights at least 24 hour in advance of Memorial Day weekend.

Delta posted on its website Thursday that it would reduce service by approximately 100 daily departures from July 1 through Aug. 7, mainly in areas of the U.S.A and Latin America that Delta often serves.

“The various factors currently affecting our operation — weather, air traffic control and vendor staffing, as well as increased COVID cases rates, which contribute to higher-than-planned, unscheduled absences within some work groups — have resulted in an operation that’s not consistently up to the standards Delta set for the industry in recent decades,” stated Allison Ausband, Chief Customer Experience Officer at Delta.

Airlines and tourist destinations are anticipating monster crowds this summer as travel restrictions ease and pandemic fatigue overcomes lingering fear of contracting COVID-19 during travel.

Many forecasters believe that the number of travelers will be similar to or even exceed levels in pre-pandemic years. But airlines now employ thousands more people than they did in 2019,, which has sometimes led to widespread flight cancellations. People who are just now booking summer travel are experiencing sticker shock.

Domestic airline fares for summer are averaging more than $400 for a round trip, 24% higher than this time in 2019, before the pandemic, and a robust 45% higher than a year ago, according to travel-data firm Hopper.

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AP Airlines writer David Koenig in Dallas contributed to this report.

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