Hundreds of U.S. Flights Canceled Ahead of Busy Fourth of July Weekend

Jenna Raspanti and other travelers talk on their cell phones as they stand in line at the Delta ticketing counter at Washington's Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Monday, Aug. 8, 2016. Raspanti is trying to get to San Francisco after her Delta flight was delayed. Delta Air Lines delayed or …
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Hundreds of airline flights were cancelled over the weekend and on Monday, causing some alarm ahead of the Fourth of July holiday weekend when a growing number of Americans are traveling to celebrate.

The New York Post reported:

More than 830 flights were scrapped across the country as of Monday evening — as wind and rain blanketed parts of the northeast — though cancellations en masse were reported early in the morning, according to tracking site FlightAware.

Close to 1 in 5 flights (17 percent) out of Newark Liberty International Airport were axed before dinnertime, while LaGuardia Airport was reporting 37 percent of scheduled flights delayed. A total of 32 flights — or 4 percent — had been canceled at JFK Airport, with 181 (26 percent) delayed.

Of the hundreds of flights canceled and thousands delayed across the country, more than 200 were operated by Delta and 120 by United, the flight tracking data showed. American Airlines had canceled 60 flights as of 9:30 a.m.

The massive cancelation numbers come as the American Automobile Association (AAA) predicts that 3.5 million Americans will be traveling over the holiday weekend.

That figure represents the lowest number of travelers to fly over the Fourth of July since 2011, AAA said.

The airlines blame cancellations on pilot and airline staff shortages, and insufficient air traffic controllers on the ground. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said in a statement:

People expect when they buy an airline ticket that they’ll 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.

An Orlando-based website reported on Delta Airlines, which cited weather and employee absences as reasons for cancellations:

“Delta teams continue to safely manage through compounding factors affecting our operation this weekend, including higher-than-planned unscheduled absences in some of our work groups, weather, and air traffic control constraints,” a Delta Airlines spokesperson said. “Canceling a flight is always our last resort, and we sincerely apologize to our customers for any disruption to their travel plans.”

Nadine Constabile was flying Delta out of Orlando on Monday. She works for another airline and said the entire industry is suffering from staffing shortages.

“It affects a lot of people,” Constabile said. “If I don’t show up to work, you can’t get on the plane. That’s basically how it works.”

Orlando International Airport officials said travel will be near pre-pandemic levels for the Fourth of July holiday, according to the Orlando report.

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