LONDON – Memorial Day travel is causing misery in the mainland United States, as passengers are facing staggering delays and cancellations bringing their travel plans to complete halt.
On Monday, 30 May 2022, over 1000 scheduled flights have been delayed and 338 flights stand cancel, bringing total number of flights cancelled over busy Memorial Day to 5000.
As the travel pattern has shown steep surge in post-pandemic time, airlines are facing acute staff shortages across many airports in the United States, causing tremendous amount of travel chaos.
Airlines have cited bad weather conditions, ongoing staff crisis and air traffic controllers’ actions to accommodate these delays and cancellations, despite industry thinktanks predicting surge in passengers’ traffic over summer season.
Delta Spokeswoman stated that, “Covid has continues to cause higher than average staff absence, while airlines in general have struggled to rehire staff let go at the start of the pandemic to keep up with a resurgence in demand for travel.”
As per data reported by the FlightAware, amongst US carriers, Delta Air Lines has cancelled most of its flights, bringing the total numbers to 250 (9% of its total operations) following further 121 flights being cancelled on Monday.
As per Delta’s announcement on their website last week, it will be reducing its services by about 100 daily scheduled flights to parts of the United States and Latin America between July and August, customers have grown furious of this decision has have taken their anger over to the social media and have expressed it on Delta’s Twitter page.
Speaking on this crisis, Delta Air Lines Chief Customer Experience Officer, Allison Ausband posted that, “More than any time in our history, the various factors currently impacting our operation — weather and air traffic control, vendor staffing, increased COVID case rates contributing to higher-than-planned unscheduled absences in some work groups — are resulting in an operation that isn’t consistently up to the standards Delta has set for the industry in recent years,”
American Airlines, another US carriers has left its passengers in same situation as Delta, with another 121 flights (3% of total operations) being cancelled as of 14:35 EDT in the United States.
Passengers who were looking forward to well-deserved break after two harsh pandemic years have been met with sheer disappointment with staggering flight cancelations and delays brining their plans to complete halt.
Below image shows the amount of flight cancelations and airport chaos that has been mounting pressure on airport staff which is already dealing with limited staff on duty.
Was this chaos in sight? And could this have been averted?
According to AAA’s predictions last week, which stated that more than 39.2 million people were expected to travel over Memorial Day weekend across United States out of which 3.9 million will prefer to fly.
As the air travel was on the rebound, the passengers were expected to flock to the airports in order to get to their destination in comparatively cheaper cost as the cost of gasoline in the United States has been remarkably high due to ongoing inflation.
Paula Twidale, senior Vice President for AAA Travel expressed that, “Memorial Day is always a good predictor of what’s to come for summer travel, based on our projections, summer travel isn’t just heating up, it will be on fire. People are overdue for a vacation, and they are looking to catch up on some much-needed R&R in the coming months.”
Despite these early warnings and possible surge in the traffic trends; airlines, airports and auxiliary services were not prepared for this overwhelming response and thus had to suffer ongoing cancellations and delays that are making passengers suffer beyond limits, as the airfares are in fact significantly costlier than they were previously.
The Federal Aviation Administration stated staff shortages and traffic volumes are causing delays and cancellations across major United States airports, affecting limited take offs and landings and brining operations to halt.
As a response to this crisis, airlines are either scarping or trimming their services to certain routes over upcoming summer season and making all efforts to bring back staff to cope-up the demand they are facing now.
As a part of this ongoing struggle to meet the demand, majority of the U.S. carriers including Delta, United, American Airline and Southwest Airlines will be readjusting their published summer schedule and would focus on brining staff back to the desk to deal with the situations.
Delta Air Lines in its press release mentioned that “in recent months, we’ve made a number of adjustments to minimize disruptions and bounce back faster when challenges occur. And that’s why we’ll be taking additional steps in the coming days and weeks to strategically decrease our flight schedule this summer.”