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The summer travel season will not be stranger than this

On Sunday, about 2.2 million travelers have passed through the security of US airports since the pandemic began.

Many of them were probably in a bad mood before reaching the metal detector.

Summer travel is often a slogan full of crowds, delays, storms, and limited customer support. But this year it’s as if the airline started from scratch. The joy that many felt traveling again flowed into the reality of summer. It was worse than usual in numbers.

Travelers have encountered delays and cancellations associated with everything from computer malfunctions to shortages of fuel truck drivers. The problem meant waiting four hours on the phone, even before heading to the airport. Due to the rampant schedule changes by airlines, many travelers have improvised new plans.

Summer storms always lead to cancellations and connection failures, but this year there are shortages of seats, spare planes, pilots and flight attendants, and some travelers wait days to reach their destination.

And there is a new problem. Some international destinations require a Covid-19 test within 72 hours of arrival. In addition to scrambling to find a hotel room, some late-hit flyers now have to hustle to take another Covid test.

The plane became full this summer, causing problems for airlines when storms and labor shortages caused delays.


Photo:

Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times / Getty Images

According to aviation data company Cirium, this was a particularly bizarre summer travel surge. The fifth busiest airport in the world is currently located in Charlotte, North Carolina. Charlotte hosted more June flights than Los Angeles International Airport or Beijing Capital International Airport.

Queen City had 21,192 flights in June, down 6.7% from June 2019. LAX decreased by 29%. Beijing Capital further declined with the opening of its second major airport in Beijing Capital in late 2019.

Crowded terminal Southern Airport that once slept Known for rocking chairs and barbecues, it reflects the surge in domestic travel in the United States, and international traffic is not yet high.

American Airlines

Focus your flight on two hubs, Dallas Fort Worth and Charlotte.

But when problems occur with these hubs, travelers feel the consequences. The two-hour delay turned into a series of problems for Rebecca Reis and her husband who tried to travel from Atlanta to Saint Kitts and Nevis in the United States on July 3.

They missed a full day of four-day vacation, had to stand in long lines, take a new Covid test at the 24-hour clinic, and had an extra seat at their feet allotted without a refund from the Americans. I had to pay mysteriously twice to get it. additional fee. And their bags were left behind by the returning airline.

“It was a mess — it was a complete mess,” says Reiss. “Everything continued to be added.”

The July 2 storm meant that the American crew assigned to her flight arrived late in Atlanta. That meant the couple missed a connection to the Caribbean Sea in Charlotte. Americans couldn’t offer an alternative until July 4th.

Americans say they made a rocky start on a holiday weekend due to a storm in Dallas, their biggest hub, but they have recovered and the problem has been lessened since then.

The airline was unable to reroute another crew member to Atlanta to keep the July 3 flight on time, a spokesman said. After inquiring about Reisses’ experience with this story, he says, Americans will provide travel credits to apologize to them and refund their seating charges.

Southwest Airlines

Canceled 3% of flights from June 1st to July 14th. This is about three times the airline’s regular fare and does not count schedule changes made more than a week ago. Also, according to data from Anuvu’s aviation data platform, masFlight, about one-third of flights arrive more than 15 minutes late.

Southwest Airlines said it dealt with storms in multiple regions in early July after a computer problem that caused cancellations and delays to increase by about a week in mid-June.

Southwest Airlines Executive Vice President Alan Casher said, “Go on schedule, with fewer flights scheduled on daily routes than in previous summer schedules and already fully booked flights. Without it, it would be difficult to reschedule customers or relocate crew members. ” Daily work.

During the July 4 vacation, Southwest Airlines provided flight attendants and many ground workers who acquired extra shifts due to staff shortages with double overtime. Recently, Southwest Airlines said it would offer double wages to several working groups, including flight attendants, ground agents and customer service personnel, until mid-August to pick up additional shifts.

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JetBlue,

Only 58% of this summer’s flights arrived on time. This is a disastrous mark for major airlines.

Allegiant

It was even lower. According to masFlight, Allegiant’s cancellation rate was the worst, slightly lower than in the southwest.

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According to JetBlue Airlines, the northeastern part of the country, which makes many flights, has been hit by heavy thunderstorms for several weeks. In New York and Boston, the Federal Aviation Administration frequently imposed weather-related slowdowns this month.

“We’re definitely happy with the quick return of our air travel, but the weather in the northeast and the accelerated rise put pressure on the industry,” says a JetBlue spokesman.

Allegiant spokeswoman Hilarie Gray said the Florida storm had a major impact on the network as well as the Transportation Security Administration. Shortage of manpower At many small airports served by Allegiant. Ground service contractors also struggle to maintain airport agents, baggage handlers, and fuel suppliers, she says.

Rent-a-cars in the United States are more difficult than ever this summer, especially at popular vacation destinations. To find out what’s behind the soaring car rental prices, the WSJ spoke with industry analysts and WSJ’s Nora Naughton.Photo: Luke Charlett / Bloomberg News

The Southwest and Americans were less generous with their summer schedules than their rivals. Combined June, July and August, Southwest Airlines and American Airlines have 13% and 15% fewer flights, respectively, than in the summer of 2019, according to Cirium.Schedule

Delta Air Lines

It’s still 25% below summer 2019 levels, and United flights are down 23%.

The United States and the Southwest have struggled to catch up with more frequent delays and cancellations than their rivals, without taking into account schedule changes that took place more than a week ago. So far, 75% of Americans have a summer on-time rate of well below Delta’s 86%, according to masFlight.

Airlines aren’t the only ones that frustrate travelers. Hotels, like other businesses, suffer from a shortage of workers and, in some cases, are unable to provide the expected levels of housekeeping, open lounges and restaurants.

And limited services still don’t mean discounted prices.Hotel like Car rentalDespite the limited service, it turned out to be surprisingly expensive. According to hotel data company STR, the average daily rate in the United States for the week ending July 10 was $ 139.84. This is the highest ever.

Write to Scott McCartney middleseat@wsj.com

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The summer travel season will not be stranger than this

Source link The summer travel season will not be stranger than this

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