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Airlines prepare for a large crowd on the weekend of July 4th: NPR

Airlines passengers arrive at Chicago’s Midway International Airport on the first day of Friday’s July 4th holiday weekend.

Charles Rex Arbogast / AP


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Airlines passengers arrive at Chicago’s Midway International Airport on the first day of Friday’s July 4th holiday weekend.

Charles Rex Arbogast / AP

The holiday weekend of July 4th got off to a booming start with a crowd of airports crushing the numbers seen in 2019 before the pandemic.

Travelers across the United States experienced hundreds of flight cancellations and thousands of delays on Friday, as they did earlier this week.

Patricia Carreno arrives at Los Angeles International Airport with a friend, but learns that Alaska Airlines’ flight to Mazatlan, Mexico has been cancelled.

“We’re probably going to drive to Mexico, Tijuana on the border, and then fly from there,” she said.

The Transportation Security Administration screened more than 2.4 million travelers at an airport checkpoint on Thursday. This is 17% more than the same Friday before July 4, 2019.

There may also be heavy traffic on the highway.

AAA predicts that nearly 48 million people will travel at least 50 miles from their homes over the weekend, slightly less than in 2019. According to AAA, driving will set a record even when the national average price of gasoline is close to $ 5.

Leisure trips are back this year. This means that especially on weekends with three holidays, a lot of people get together.

With so many flights sold out on the weekend of July 4, airlines have a hard time finding seats for passengers like Carreño whose flights have been cancelled. The airline has instructed the customer to check the status of the flight before going to the airport.

Travelers will wait at the Philadelphia International Airport security line before the weekend of July 4th in Philadelphia on Friday.

Matt Rourke / AP


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Travelers will wait at the Philadelphia International Airport security line before the weekend of July 4th in Philadelphia on Friday.

Matt Rourke / AP

If you’re already at the airport when your flight is canceled, “it’s time to make your multitasking skills flexible,” said Sebastian Modac, editor of travel guide publisher Lonely Planet.

Modak recommends heading directly to the airline help desk, checking the app over the phone, and calling the airline’s customer service line. For airlines that have both, international numbers may be answered faster than US numbers. He said driving and riding buses and trains would be a better option for shorter trips.

“We can’t avoid the fact that this is a summer of travel delays, cancellations, and frustration,” he said.

By Friday evening on the East Coast, airlines had canceled about 500 US flights and delayed another 5,100 flights, according to FlightAware. Thunderstorms scattered throughout the New York City area could increase numbers. According to tracking services, at least 600 flights were canceled between June 22nd and Wednesday, with 4,000 to 7,000 flights delayed per day.

Airline executives have blamed the recent surge in canceled flights at the Federal Aviation Administration, which operates the country’s air traffic control system, but Secretary of Transportation Pete Butigeg disagrees with that claim. ..

Passengers are caught on the way.

Mari Ismail, who flew to Atlanta on Friday, said it took a long time to check in and pass security before the flight from Baltimore.

“It was a very long process because I arrived at the gate shortly after they started boarding,” she said.

Jordan Jeffrey said he booked a return trip from Atlanta to Fort Lauderdale, Florida on a holiday Monday.

“I’m working that night, so I hope there’s no delay,” she said.

Airlines may overbook flights in the hope that some passengers will not appear. If there are more passengers than seats, the airline will provide cash or travel vouchers to those who are willing to take the next flight.

Travelers check in at Philadelphia International Airport on Friday.

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Travelers check in at Philadelphia International Airport on Friday.

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Earlier this week, Inc. A columnist in the magazine writes that Delta flight attendants provided $ 10,000 in cash to those leaving the plane waiting to take off from Grand Rapids, Mississippi.

Delta spokesman Anthony Black did not confirm or deny the journalist’s account, but said the airline raised the compensation agent it could offer in such cases to $ 9,950 in 2017. I dragged a 69-year-old doctor out of a sold-out plane. The case resulted in a proceeding, a secret settlement, and a late-night television joke about United’s customer service.

Despite the rush of vacationers to airports and planes, the total number of people flying has not fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels due to a decline in business and international travel. The TSA screened 11% fewer people in June than in the same month of 2019.

Thursday is the 11th time since the pandemic began and TSA has checked more people than the same day in 2019, the second time since February.

With enough staff, airlines can almost certainly carry more passengers. Many US airlines have adjusted their summer schedules due to widespread cancellations over Memorial Day weekends due to bad weather, delayed air traffic, and a shortage of enough employees.

The airline paid to quit thousands of workers during the early days of the pandemic, when air travel plummeted and the airline’s income was depleted. It has been adopted recently, but it takes time to train pilots who are particularly lacking.

Airlines currently competing for key employees are offering pilots double-digit salary increases. Pilots are focused on negotiating new contracts.

Airlines prepare for a large crowd on the weekend of July 4th: NPR

Source link Airlines prepare for a large crowd on the weekend of July 4th: NPR

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