Canceled flights; parked jets: Airlines struggle to meet demand in chaotic summer travel season
Airlines and passengers are suffering through a chaotic post-pandemic phase that has seen the industry struggle to deal with surging demand, leaving many passengers unhappy about everything from the prices of their tickets to aggravation over whether they’ll reach their destination.
Demand for flights has surged this summer to levels not seen since before the pandemic. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) data shows 2.45 million people passed through the nation’s airports on Friday, the highest single-day total since Feb. 11, 2020.
Yet this demand is being met with a shortage of supplies.
Airlines have shed millions of seats from their summer schedules, which will push prices higher. They’ve delayed and canceled thousands of flights, and hundreds of jets remain parked despite the high demand. Some smaller airports have lost commercial flights entirely.
Passenger output on the Friday preceding Father’s Day and Juneteenth nearly broke pandemic records, but the same day airlines delayed more than 8,900 U.S. flights and canceled nearly 1,500 others, according to FlightAware.
Explanations for the struggle run the gamut from a pilot shortage, high fuel costs and even extreme weather.
The craziness has attracted the attention of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who met with airline executives last week. Buttigieg’s department said on Thursday that complaints about airline service were up more than 300 percent in April compared to the same time in 2019.
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