LaGuardia Airport was plagued by more flight cancellations Friday morning — 24 hours after the flight ended. A third of all flights scheduled to leave New York City Center have been cancelled.
15% of flights from LaGuardia were canceled as of Friday morning, and an additional 6% were delayed, according to data from Flight tracking website FlightAware.com.
New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport also reported significant cancellations, with 11% of all flights scheduled to depart on Friday cancelled.
Nationally, FlightAware reports more than 1,000 cancellations in and out of the United States.
A torrent of cancellations and delays comes as children begin their summer vacations and families plan their long-awaited vacations, which many have postponed for more than two years due to the coronavirus.
And Americans will only get pent-up love of wanderlust, as data analyzed by travel insurance company Allianz Partners indicated that trips to Europe will rise 600% compared to last year, NPR reported.
At least some of the cancellations Friday were due to bad weather in many parts of the country, with rain and thunderstorms expected on the East Coast, much of the South, in many western states and the Pacific Northwest.
But according to aviation industry experts, a more systemic problem, the acute shortage of pilots, is responsible for much of Americans’ long-term travel problems.
During a five-day period around Memorial Day weekend, which traditionally opens the travel season in the United States, 2,800 flights were canceled nationwide.
Unions representing pilots in Delta, American and Southwest Airlines have complained that companies have been slowing down when it comes to hiring additional pilots to meet rapidly growing demand as travel begins to increase again.
Industry insiders have even coined a new term – “revenge travel” – to describe Americans’ aggressive determination to make up for all the trips they were forced to skip during the pandemic.
On Thursday, top airline executives met with US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to discuss some of the challenges facing their industry, including overburdened airports and widespread customer dissatisfaction.
“I’ve told them this is the moment when we’re really counting on them to provide reliable services to our traveling public,” Buttigieg told NBC News.
Buttigieg gave CEOs a wish list for this summer, which included smooth travel during the July 4th holiday, adherence to published flight schedules, and improved customer service.
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