The Independence Day weekend is here.
With the pandemic easing out, it is time for people to come out of their barricades. A long holiday weekend is just the perfect time to travel.
But what could dampen your travel plans this weekend?
1) Colossal Airfares
According to a recent report, the average domestic round-trip ticket in the USA will set a traveller back by around $437, an eye-watering 45% higher than in pre-pandemic 2019.
2) Stand Down
A huge number of flights are being cancelled. Adding to that, more than 4,500 domestic or international flights were delayed.
3) Global Travel Bottlenecks
Even with the relaxation of global limitations, the war situation in Ukraine is grim. Europe is struggling with reduced airspace due to the Ukraine. There is literally a bottleneck up in the sky, talk of traffic jam in the air!
4) The Roadblock
If a road trip was the plan, then astronomical fuel prices are the roadblock! The average gas price has hit $5 per gallon. Still, it is expected that 88% of people will use cars on the July 4th weekend. Drivers should also be amenable to the longest driving times as the holiday weekend begins, considering the traffic situation.
5) Human Infrastructure
Let’s take a quick look at infrastructure, especially the human part. The pandemic brought life to a standstill and its domino effect caused job losses, especially in the travel sector.
Now, airlines are stretched thin to cover all scheduled flights, causing roster changes and cancellations. And this impact of manpower shortage is glaringly obvious during the busy July Weekend.
6) Too Few Pilots
Airlines are struggling with the insufficient number of trained pilots available. The demand and supply matrix is badly skewed! The July 4th weekend will make the dearth even more visible.
Andrew Levy, CEO of Avelo Airlines in conversation with USA Today stated “We need more pilots to enter into the profession as an industry, as a country, that’s important. And until we address certain things to enable this to happen, this is going to become increasingly acute. The result is going to be less air service in this country and people will pay higher prices.”
7) Climbing Costs
Then there is general inflation, which has been through the roof. The cost of living has been creeping up steadily, especially during the pandemic and post-pandemic periods. Day-to-day expenses have gone up. A July Weekend trip would add on to expenses. Can everybody afford the extra expenses?
8) Federal Aviation Administration Struggling
The Federal Aviation Administration has its hands full trying to find trained staff for air traffic control centers. The Air Traffic Control Staff shoulder immense responsibility to ensure all airplanes fly safely in the sky. However, being understaffed, their bandwidth is limited. Handling the July Weekend may result in delay, rescheduling, and cancellation.
FAA even released a statement in defense, “People expect when they buy an airline ticket that they will get where they need to go safely, efficiently, reliably and affordably. After receiving $54 Billion in pandemic relief to help save the airlines from mass layoffs and bankruptcy, the American people deserve to have their expectations met.”
So, yes multiple factors create a hindrance to travel. A major drawback for travelers, these factors not only cause financial losses, but wastage of time, effort, and mental trauma that cannot even be measured.
Tips for July Weekend Travel
July Weekend travel is expected to be plagued by delays, stress, frustration, long lines, and extra expenses. So here are a few ways to mitigate the risks:
- Opt to travel non-stop to your destination without layovers.
- Buy travel insurance, a good way to cover unpleasant circumstances.
- Aim to arrive at the airport earlier than usual to avoid queues.
- Be aware of customer rights & refund policies when the flight is delayed or cancelled.
- Start early when traveling in car to avoid long delays and traffic.