More people flew out of airports in the United States on Sunday – according to 2.46 million for the Transportation Security Administration – than any other day so far this year. Thursdays and Fridays leading into this Fourth of July holiday are expected to be even busier, with hopper, A travel booking app that predicts about 13 million passengers will be flying to and from the United States later this week.
The question for many travelers is whether they can trust the airlines to get them where they want on time.
You can’t blame them for not accepting the answer. On June 17, the Friday before Monday’s June holiday, nearly a third of flights arrived late, according to flight tracking company FlightAware. Between the last Saturday and the Monday before the Fourth of July weekend, US carriers already Nearly 2,500 flights canceled, At the June 16 meeting, the Transportation Secretary, Pete Buttigieg, told the airlines that Happen Monitoring their performance closely. the very next day, their own flight from Washington to New York was canceled,
one in letter on tuesday, Senator Bernie Sanders urged Mr Buttigieg to start fining airlines for particularly severe cancellations and delays. In other proposals, he suggested that airlines should pay $55,000 per passenger for any canceled flight, which was previously clear they could not staff.
Before postponing any upcoming trips, though, it’s worth taking a closer look at the cancellation and delay data for insights into how travel has, and hasn’t, changed this year.
The percentage of cancellations so far this year versus comparable times in 2019: 2.8 percent versus 2.1 percent.
Lesson: The idea that air travel was so much better before the pandemic clouded nostalgia for Before Times.
Social media is awash with announcements that air travel is the worst travel ever. In fact it has been surprisingly bad some holiday weekends and stormy weeks. as Mr. Sanders noted In their letter, airlines have canceled flights four times over the high-travel weekends they did in 2019. But the reality is that even before the pandemic, the credibility of the airline was terrible.
American airlines have been operating between 21,000 and 25,000 flights a day in recent months. So far in 2022, an average of one in five flights a day has been delayed — a total of more than 820,000 delayed flights, according to FlightAware. Over 116,000 flights have been cancelled. It all adds up to the tens of thousands of people who miss weddings, funerals and work events and grapple with how to salvage the holidays. But during a comparable period in 2019, it was not that much better. At that time, 17 percent – instead of 20 percent – also arrived late and the average delay time was 48 minutes instead of 49.
“I think people are noticing it so much because it’s clustered in these holiday periods,” said Kathleen Bangs, a former commercial pilot who is now a spokesperson for FlightAware.
Although the holiday weekend has always been a bit of a gamble, crew staff issues exacerbated by excessive schedules mean there is now less slack in the system, said Bob Mann, a longtime airline executive who is now a The airline runs consulting company RW Mann & Co., said. The season, which canceled a dozen flights at some airports, is now likely to have a more dramatic impact, with thousands of flights canceled in dozens of airports. This is especially true for low-cost carriers such as JetBlue and Spirit Airlines, which canceled between 10.3 percent and 9 percent of flights in April, respectively. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics,
Same month, JetBlue announced That it will cancel eight to ten percent of flights for the rest of the summer.
“A number like 10 percent that I’ve never seen before,” Mr Mann said of advance cancellations for a peak travel period. “I’ve never seen a number like 10 percent before,” said Mr. Mann.
If you want to build in safety in case your flight is canceled, never book the last flight of the day, advises Sean Pruchniki, a former airline pilot and professor of aviation safety at The Ohio State University.
Least Trusted Airports: Newark, LaGuardia and Orlando
Lesson: Major centers always had nightmares, especially on busy weekends. Changing travel patterns and air traffic control staffing issues have made them worse.
So far this year, two New York area airports, Newark Liberty International and LaGuardia, have had the most cancellations in the United States — about 6 percent of total flights — according to FlightAware data. In terms of delays, Newark was one of the top two most frequent airports to fly into, with people arriving at their destinations nearly 30 percent late. Only Orlando International had a comparable percentage of delayed flights.
In general, flying out of Florida has been tough. More than one in four flights have been delayed so far this year at airports in Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa. According to data from FlightAware, only flights from Dallas Love Field and Chicago Midway airports were delayed at comparatively poor rates.
No sector can blame its lack of credibility solely on issues related to the coronavirus. But each has gotten worse for reasons linked to the pandemic, aviation experts say.
Airports in travel hubs like New York City have long had more cancellations and delays than other airports, Dr. Pruchniki said. That is partly by design. If airlines need to cut flights, they will use New York as a sacrificial lamb “because it gives them more options to reroute passengers,” he said.
New York City has also been hit by long delays because air traffic controllers have to choreograph activity for multiple airports within 50 miles of each other. “It’s a spaghetti ball to fly,” said Mr. Mann, a former airline executive.
More recently, according to Scott Kirby, the chief executive officer of United Airlines, there just aren’t enough air traffic controllers to handle spaghetti.
“They are doing everything they can, but like many people in the economy, they are short of staff,” Mr Kirby told Bloomberg. Last week. In an internal memo, United outlined plans to temporarily reduce 50 flights to and from Newark on July 1 to “keep flights on schedule”.
In Florida, central to the issue, several analysts said, is the state’s supersized popularity as a vacation and relocation destination. Airlines have responded by increasing flights. But then when thunderstorms strike — as they often do in Florida — because air traffic controls in the area have already been pushed to the limit, it’s harder for airlines to get back on track than before, according to the flight department at Embry. said Kenneth Byrnes, president of Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla.
That said, avoiding hubs may not be the way to go, some analysts said, because if your flight gets canceled, hubs offer more options for rebooking.
Most delayed major airline in recent months: JetBlue
Lesson: Paying more for a ticket on an airline with a better on-time track record can be beneficial for short trips.
In the past three months, JetBlue, Elegant Air and Frontier arrived late by a third, with an average delay of about an hour. FlightAware data. The three low-cost carriers were also the most delayed in 2021, according to the annual Airline Quality Ratings report, an analysis Data from the Department of Transportation published by Wichita State University in Wichita, Kan.
JetBlue during the pandemic often blame Staff for delays and cancellations. In a statement on Thursday, a spokesperson for the airline said the airline had made necessary schedule cuts and now has enough pilots and other crew to fly the flight. The airline attributed the recent delay to air traffic control issues in the “congested weather-prone Northeast Corridor”.
“We made the decision in April to reduce flying this summer by more than 10 percent so that we can more reliably operate our program with our existing staff and other constraints on the national aviation system,” the spokesperson said in the statement. “With our reduced capacity, JetBlue had a sufficient number of pilots and inflight crew to operate our schedule in June,” she said.
The Transport Workers’ Union, which represents JetBlue flight attendants, has often clashed with the company over delays and cancellations. On Thursday, the union’s international vice president Gary Peterson said he thought it was bogus to attribute poor flight performance primarily to weather and air traffic control issues. “JetBlue in general wants to blame everyone but their own leadership team for the airline’s failures, not just passengers but flight crew,” he said.
The lesson for the average traveler may be to pay close attention to which airline is selling that ticket before clicking buy. Especially on short weekend trips, losing even an hour may not be worth saving $100. In recent months, no major carrier can be relied upon to deliver more than 90 percent of the time — something that was rare even before the pandemic — but Delta, Hawaiian, Alaska and United accounted for more than 80 percent of flights. Come closer together. arrive on time according to information about flying And Transportation Data Bureau.
Ultimately for those who want to make sure their flight doesn’t get canceled or delayed, the best bet seems to be to skip air travel during busy weekends.
Delta was offering that advice when, on Thursday, it said it would waive the change fee and ticket-price difference for anyone booked to fly between July 1 and July 4 and July 8. Wanted to switch to another date on or before.
“For this Fourth of July weekend, my advice is to buy hot dogs and stay home,” said co-author Dean Headley of the Wichita State University Airline Rankings.