Airlines cancel thousands of flights as storm attracts US travelers
Tens of thousands of travelers saw their travel plans disrupted on Friday after airlines canceled around 1,400 US flights as thunderstorms battered the East Coast.
Another 6,300 flights had been delayed by early evening, according to tracking service FlightAware, adding even more chaos to those weekend travel plans.
It was the second day in a row of major disruptions and the worst day for cancellations since mid-June.
The three major airports in the New York area and Reagan National Airport outside of Washington, DC, had the most cancellations.
American Airlines cut about 250 flights, or 7% of its schedule. Republic Airways, which operates smaller planes for American Eagle, Delta Connection and United Express, canceled a similar number, about 25% of its flights.
The thunderstorms were interrupting or delaying early evening flights in New York, Boston, the Washington, DC area, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Denver, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
About 1,200 US flights were canceled Thursday, or 4.6% of all scheduled.
Travelers have been hit with widespread cancellations and delays this summer. Travel has rebounded faster than expected – to around 88% of pre-pandemic levels in July – and airlines have not been able to ramp up staff quickly enough. They have reduced schedules in an attempt to make the remaining flights more reliable.
Airlines serving the United States had a bad month of June, canceling more than 21,000 flights or 2.7%, compared to 1.8% in June 2019, before the airlines pushed workers to quit during the pandemic. Airlines did better in July, however, canceling around 14,000 flights, or 1.8%.
Delays have been more persistent – over 23% in June and July.