2022 – Airlines cancel thousands of flights over Memorial Day weekend, and this explains why airlines are cutting back on summer flight schedules.

  • Airlines had a rough Memorial Day weekend, resulting in thousands of flights being canceled or delayed.
  • Delta Air Lines canceled more than 700 flights, blaming bad weather, air traffic control and sick leave related to the coronavirus.
  • The chaos comes after many airlines cut their summer flight schedules to better deal with rising demand.

Another banking weekend has come and gone, but not without causing havoc for airlines and passengers.

Travelers traveling over Memorial Day weekend have faced a series of delays and cancellations across the country, with more than 2,500 flights canceled since Friday. Reuters reported. According to flight tracker FlightAware, more than 400 flights within, to or from the US were canceled on Monday alone, while about 2,400 flights were delayed.

And Delta Air Lines was the airline that had the biggest problems, canceling about 700 flights over the long weekend. The airline told insiders it “wants to cancel at least 24 hours before departure” and has absorbed more than 90% of affected customers on subsequent flights.

The airline has blamed air traffic control issues, weather and COVID-related sick calls for the disruptions, according to a research note by Queens analyst Helen Baker shared with Insider.

Other airlines such as American Airlines and JetBlue Airways faced challenges over the weekends. Severe thunderstorms in Miami caused the most disruptions to flights, American Insiders told, forcing the airline to cancel more than 100 flights on Monday, according to FlightAware data.

JetBlue has suffered the most from delays, with 25% of its flight schedule being delayed and just 1% canceled on Monday, according to FlightAware.

Chaos ensued as airlines cut flight schedules to better deal with the busy summer travel season. On Thursday, Delta announced that it will cut about 100 daily flights from July 1 to August 7 due to increased demand, and said the modifications “will build additional flexibility in our system and improve operational reliability for our customers and employees.”

β€œMore than at any time in our history, the various factors currently affecting our operations β€” weather and air traffic control, vendor personnel, increased numbers of COVID cases contributing to more than planned unplanned absences in some workgroups β€” are driving operations, Which results in it not consistently meeting the standards that Delta has set for the industry over the past few years,” said Alison Abend, chief customer experience officer at Advertising.

Airlines such as JetBlue and Alaska have also made changes. In April, JetBlue told CNN it had canceled 8% to 10% of its flights in May. Alaska Airlines also reduced its summer flights by 2% through June, although the Seattle-based carrier did not experience increased delays or cancellations over the weekend.

Analysts say Memorial Day is just the start of a busy summer travel season. According to USA Today, experts expect passenger traffic in 2022 to exceed 2019, but staff shortages across the industry have led to mass cancellations.

“We expect a busy summer and are concerned about the industry’s ability to meet demand,” Becker wrote. We also expect ticket prices to rise during the summer as demand exceeds supply. The crew shortage means that small towns will continue to lose service and prices should be high at least until Labor Day.”

The pilot shortage in particular has forced airlines to ground some regional flights, Bloomberg reports, with United Airlines grounding 100 regional planes due to a pilot shortage.

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