Travelers are returning to airports in record numbers before the pandemic this July 4 holiday weekend, but continue to encounter thousands of delayed and canceled flights, data shows.
The Transportation Security Administration screened 2,490,490 passengers passed through security checkpoints at the airport on Friday – the highest number of passengers since February 11, 2020, when the agency screened more than 2.5 million passengers. agency spokesman Lisa Farbstein tweeted on Saturday†
That same day, 464 US domestic and international flights were canceled and more than 6,600 delayed, according to the flight tracker FlightAwarenoting that these accounted for 28.8% of scheduled flights in total.
More than 930 flights in, to or out of the US were delayed Sunday morning and more than 200 flights were canceled, according to FlightAware† John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and Chicago O’Hare International Airport had the highest rates of delays and cancellations.
According to FlightAware, 53 flights in, to or out of the US before July 4 have already been canceled as of Sunday morning.
Sunday’s cancellations followed Saturday’s 5,893 delayed flights and 655 canceled flights in, to or out of the US.
The cancellations and delays of the July 4 weekend flights also follow those of the Juneteenth and Father’s Day weekend, which included the busiest flying day of the year prior to July 1 and saw more than 3,300 flight cancellations from Friday to Monday, and Memorial Day weekend, when about 2,700 flights were cancelled.
The wave of cancellations follows staff shortages, especially pilot shortages, which have caused some airlines to preemptively suspend thousands of flights for the summer season.
Airlines executives have accused understaffed at the Federal Aviation Administration for flight cancellations and delays, but in an official statement, the FAA disputed that claim.
In an interview with the AP last month, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said he wanted to see how air traffic progressed over the weekend of July 4 and throughout the summer before determining whether his department would take enforcement action against airlines.
On Saturday, Buttigieg tweeted on how passengers could claim refunds for canceled flights, noting in a thread that his own connecting flight was canceled Friday night and that he was claiming a $112 refund.
“Airlines offer miles as compensation for some travel problems, and you can often negotiate that. That’s between you and the airline,” Buttiegieg tweeted† “But you are entitled to cash refunds for canceled flights – that’s a requirement that we will continue to enforce.”
FlightAware spokeswoman Kathleen Bangs previously told NBC News that she expects the wave of cancellations to stabilize by the fall as airlines cut their schedules and aim to hire more pilots and other airline personnel.