Flight delays ease up, but Fourth of July holiday travel still is chaotic

Published: Jul. 4, 2022 at 6:13 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - A chaotic start to summer air travel spilled over into the Fourth of July travel weekend, one of the busiest of the year.

Jen Yearwood made it back home to Atlanta from Boston with no delays, easily giving her time to attend a backyard barbecue with family. But her trip, with baby in tow, didn’t start off that way. Their flight to Boston last week was delayed, then their luggage was lost.

“Traveling with an infant is challenging enough, but add on the extra time it took, so really it was like an eight-hour day,” said Jen Yearwood.

U.S. airlines saw more than 1,500 cancelations since Friday. Nearly 18,000 delays, according to FlightAware.com data. Many of those delays and cancelations were blamed on staffing shortages, the weather, and mechanical issues.

In a Twitter post, travel expert Kyle Potter of ThrifyTraveler.com said the holiday travel weekend wasn’t a full-scale meltdown, but it still wasn’t good.

“Let’s assume planes in the US have 120 seats and are 90% full on average, and that’s probably conservative. That’s 2.1 million Americans whose travels were potentially ruined this weekend,” said Kyle Potter. “That is not a good weekend. It could have been worse, but none of this is good or normal.”

Shobhit Banwait, who is a frequent flyer, was visiting friends in Atlanta. His flight into the U.S. from Toronto wasn’t delayed, but an airport with crowds at levels not seen since before the pandemic slowed him down and only added to his stress level.

“That’s the whole reason I went early to the airport from Toronto. Usually, I go like two hours before especially when coming to the states,” said Shobhit Banwait.

Delta, which in recent weeks struggled to keep up with flight demand, did relatively well this weekend after late last week announcing preemptive reductions in its summer flight schedule. Other airlines like United Airways and JetBlue did the same.

Antoinee Slater took an early flight home. She didn’t encounter any delays. She’s hoping her luck doesn’t run out.

“I do have a few more trips schedule through August. So, I’m hoping everything still goes well,” said Antoinee Slater.