Woes of the 4th of July Voyages
AAA reports that this July 4 vacation could set travel records, and airlines are preparing to handle the rush.
What do you want to know
- Many tourists plan to travel during the July 4 holiday weekend
- So far, thousands of flights have been canceled or delayed
- Local airlines hope they can continue to serve their customers
Experts say more than 2.5 million Floridians have planned to leave their homes, and millions more have planned to visit central Florida.
The increased volume will put pressure not only on blocked roads, but also on slammed airports across the United States
As of Thursday, more than 2,400 flights were canceled and another 20,000 were delayed, according to FlightAware, a flight tracking website.
“Certainly we’ve all seen the headlines and experienced some pretty unprecedented challenges throughout the summer,” said Avelo spokeswoman Victoria Stenos.
Stenos said that aside from bad weather, their small carrier has mostly been lucky in terms of cancellations and the factors that caused them.
“We are complete with our group of pilots and our group of flight attendants,” she said.
Experts say meeting demand has been a tougher challenge for major airlines.
In a statement, Delta officials said the company’s team continues to work on flight cancellation issues to make vacation travel easier for its customers.
The statement said:
“Delta teams continue to safely manage aggravating factors affecting our operations, including air traffic control constraints, weather conditions and unscheduled absences in some of our workgroups. Despite the historic challenges facing our industry, the resilience of the people of Delta is strong. The steps we have taken include offering more flexibility for travel plans for the holiday weekend and adjusting the details of our summer schedule so that when challenges arise, we can bounce back faster. Canceling a flight is always our last resort.”
The airline is also facing pilot picketing, but according to a Delta spokesperson, this will not affect its operation.
Delta started offering waivers for one of its customers whose flights are canceled this holiday weekend.
Meanwhile, a Spirit Airlines spokesperson said the airline “currently runs one of the best operations in the industry”.
But according to Flightaware, Spirit Airlines canceled about 35% of its flights in April and more than 16% last month.
Greater Orlando Aviation Authority CEO Kevin Thibault said their partners (airlines and federal agencies) have been able to increase recruitment to fill positions and improve the situation for travelers.
“They are now turning to training these people so they can be online as quickly as possible,” he said.
A spokesperson for Southwest Airlines said in a statement that the airline has hired more than 10,000 employees this year to meet travel demand.
“Southwest currently operates our industry-leading summer flight schedule connecting a network of 121 airports in 11 countries,” the statement said. “We have worked hard to prepare for this busy season and have taken many steps to support operational performance.
“As a result, since early May, Southwest has demonstrated strong operational reliability in terms of flight completions and one of the lowest cancellation rates of any ranked carrier.”
The airline has also cut thousands of flights from its schedule.
Experts predict that 1.7 million people will pass through Orlando International Airport over the holiday weekend.