Flight cancellations may threaten July 4 travel

The Associated Press contributed to this story

JACKSONVILLE—Weather. Staffing shortages. Inflation. It has been a tough slog for some air travelers this year -- starting with the winter holiday season and extending in waves into the early summer travel season.

Last week, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg held a virtual meeting with airline CEOs to go over steps the airlines are taking to operate smoothly over the July 4 holiday and the rest of the summer, and to improve accommodation of passengers who get stranded when flights are canceled.

Over the Memorial Day holiday weekend that typically kicks off the summer travel season, airlines struggled with bad weather and shortages of workers, especially pilots, leading to widespread cancellations.

As of June 16, more than 2.2 million travelers a day on average have gone through security checkpoints at U.S. airports. That’s up 22% from a year ago although still down 13% from the same period before the pandemic.

A rise in flight cancellations and delays amid staffing shortages has disrupted travelers. By late Wednesday evening, total flight delays hovered near 15,000 and total cancellations near 3,000, according to FlightAware.

Jacksonville International Airport is seeing delays and cancellations too.

We spoke with travelers Thursday about the looming disruptions to travel.

According to Flightaware.com, they’ve had several delays here today alone. We talked to one traveler who said his flight was cancelled.

“This is the first time it got canceled,” says Andreas Santinaro. He said he has to put his vacation plans on hold for now.

“I was going to go to Chicago today and tomorrow, fly to the west coast, so they had to rebook everything.”

According to flight aware, JIA has seen 10 delayed flights today alone

JIA officials tell us bad weather in other parts of the country is to blame for the delays and the cancellations. They recommend that travelers come to the airport at least two hours early to get through security checkpoints before it’s time to board.

Other travelers like Santinaro have heard about these cancellations and delays and they are hoping they don’t get caught up in more of these flight disruptions.

“We are kind of nervous that it will be delayed or canceled,” said Greta Carter, who is trying to fly to Maryland.