This year’s most popular air travel day was a disaster. That won’t change soon

Since this long summer weekend also coincides with Father’s Day, that means there will be a lot of travel.

Friday before Juneteenth was the most popular air travel day of 2022, according to Transportation Security Administration statistics. Airports have not been as crowded since Thanksgiving in 2021.

TSA officials said they examined about 2,438,784 people at airport security checkpoints across the country on Friday, the highest volume of checks since Nov. 28, the Sunday after the action. Thank you. That also meant about 100,000 more travelers than the Friday before Memorial Day weekend.

“Welcome to Juneteenth’s Travel Weekend!” TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein wrote on Twitter.

Although Juneteenth became an official holiday last year, this is the first year that the U.S. stock market and banks will close in his honor.

The increase in numbers could not have come at a worse time for US airlines. A combination of bad weather, staff shortages and infrastructure challenges has caused major carriers to struggle to keep up with the increase in travel. About 9,000 flights were delayed in the U.S. on Friday and another 1,500 were canceled according to the FlightAware data group.

There were more than 850 flight cancellations on Saturday, by FlightAware. In the early hours of Sunday morning, more than 600 flights had already been canceled for the day.

The increase in delays and cancellations comes just a day after Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg met with airline CEOs to discuss ways to improve performance and operations ahead of another planned increase of travel during the July 4th vacation. About 2,700 flights were canceled during Memorial Day weekend. Major airlines are already pre-emptively canceling more flights just as the busy summer season heats up. Southwest Airlines has cut nearly 20,000 flights between June and Labor Day and is struggling to hire the 10,000 new workers it says it needs to meet demand. “I pay for Whataburger’s car and I pay and I get my bag, and stapled to the bag is a job application,” Southwest CEO Robert Jordan joked to Dallas Morning News last year about difficulty finding job seekers. “That’s what happened.”

Delta said it will cancel 100 daily flights to the U.S. and Latin America from July 1 to August 7. In a letter open to customers, Delta pilots wrote that labor shortages have set them up to work more overtime this year than all of them. of 2018 and 2019 together.

“The shortage of pilots for the industry is real and most airlines just won’t be able to make their capacity plans because there just aren’t enough pilots, at least not for the next five more years,” Scott said. United Airlines CEO. Kirby said during the airline’s quarterly earnings call in April.

Unions representing Delta, American and Southwest pilots say airlines have put themselves in the current situation by refusing to replace pilots who retired and took leave during the pandemic’s peak when traveling aeries plummeted. Some 8,000 new commercial pilots have received certificates in the last year, according to the pilot unions, and say there should be no shortage. The current narrative of service cuts, they say, is being used by companies to justify a cut in training and security requirements that will increase profit margins.

Some U.S. senators are taking note. “While some flight cancellations are inevitable, the large number of delays and cancellations this past weekend raises questions about the airlines’ decision-making,” wrote Senators Richard Blumenthal and Edward Markey in a letter to Buttigieg earlier this month.

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