The fourth of July holiday weekend has arrived and airlines and travel officials are preparing for the busiest travel weekend of the summer. The 4th of July weekend arrives as the airline industry continues to deal with massive cancellations and delays, blamed on everything from pilot shortages, bad weather, poor planning and air traffic control staffing.
Dallas News reports that airlines including American Airlines are offering bonus pay for regional carrier pilots. Delta Airlines is bracing for this massive uptick in travel by offering travelers free flight changes as it prepares for potential "operational challenges." Dallas News reports that Southwest Airlines has scheduled too many flights and pilots are already fatigued, according to the head of the pilots union. Right now airlines and government officials are pointing fingers over who is responsible for these delays.
After several years of a decline in travel, travel has picked up, but has caused problems for travelers. Airlines have canceled over 18,000 flights since Memorial Day weekend. On-time arrivals have declined with a quarter coming in late. Dallas News says that the American air travel system is expecting to see an average of 2.6 million travelers between Thursday and Monday. That is a 5% bump from the last two years. While air travel increases, airfare prices are increasing, hotel prices are rising and gas prices continue to skyrocket.
Dallas News has said that the airline industry sent a message to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg complaining about the delays, short staffing, and excessive weather delays.