Airlines executives were cautiously hopeful.
Aviation observers were pessimistic.
Even the federal government got involved by putting a little passive-aggressive pressure on.
But it appears that nothing is going to stop the idea that air travel this summer is going to be the season from hell.
Delays and cancellations continued for a fourth day on Saturday, June 18, into today, Sunday – with the numbers being measured in the thousands.’
After more than 750 flights were canceled on Thursday, June 16, there were more than 10,000 delays and cancellations on Friday. According to the flight-tracking service FlightAware, 8,877 flights within, into or out of the United States did not depart or land on time, and 1,473 were outright scrubbed.
While the problems dissipated somewhat, there were still issues. On Saturday, FlightAware reported that 6,462 flights into and out of the United States were delayed and 860 were canceled.
As of 2 p.m. today, Sunday, 2,318 flights have been delayed and 827 canceled.
The math – nearly 20,000 flight delays and almost 4,000 cancellations over four days – makes any hopes by the airlines to control the situation all but a moot point now.
Although Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told the airlines to get their act together and address the problems, it’s likely too little too late. Carriers have been unable to catch up to a pilot shortage caused by offering buyouts, early retirement and mandatory retirement age; a staff shortage caused by the pandemic-forced trimming of workers; and an unexpected surge in a demand for travel that even the airlines probably miscalculated.
Still, Saturday was the 14th consecutive day that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screened more than 2 million passengers and the 19th day in the last 20.
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