Fourth of July travel: Hundreds of flights canceled on busy weekend

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Airlines scrambling amid summer air travel surge

Media and travel analyst Mark Murphy discusses the summer air travel crush and how staffing shortages are impacting the flight industry on ‘Fox Business Tonight.’

Travel for the Fourth of July weekend has begun, sending airlines into a whirlwind as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides and transportation returns to normal.

By 11 a.m. EST Saturday, there were already Saturday cancellations within, into or departing the United States, according to the flight-tracking website FlightAware. Saturday delays totaled 1,745 nationwide, creating a cascading effect for flyers with layovers.

An influx of people were expected to hit the road for the holiday weekend. AAA projected that 47.9 million people will travel between Friday and Monday, and about 3.55 million of them are expected to fly. 

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
UALUNITED AIRLINES HOLDINGS INC.36.44+1.02+2.88%
DALDELTA AIR LINES INC.29.52+0.55+1.90%
AALAMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP INC.13.13+0.45+3.55%
LUVSOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO.36.73+0.61+1.69%

Staffing challenges and weather, combined with increased travel demand after the pandemic, has strained the nation's flight infrastructure.

FLIGHTMARE: THOUSANDS OF FLIGHTS CANCELED, DELAYED; DO YOU NEED INSURANCE?

Travelers check in at the Philadelphia International Airport ahead of the Independence Day holiday weekend in Philadelphia Friday, July 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke / AP Newsroom)

More than 7,100 flights into, out of and across the United States were delayed and another 535 were canceled Friday.

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Over the past week, thousands of flights have been disrupted even after carriers cut 15% of the flights they planned for over the peak summer months — June through August — to make the remaining flights more reliable, according to Airlines for America CEO Nicholas Calio. 

Travelers wait to pick up luggage at the Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles Friday, July 1, 2022.  (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong / AP Newsroom)

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The increased pressure has put airlines in desperate situations — with one airline handing out major paydays to anyone willing to get off an overbooked plane.

Delta Air Lines reportedly offered passengers $10,000 to get off an overbooked flight from Michigan to Minnesota, passengers claimed.

Travelers wait in a TSA security check at the Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles Friday, July 1, 2022.  (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong / AP Newsroom)

Inc. magazine tech columnist Jason Aten wrote that he was on a flight with his family when a flight attendant asked for volunteers over the intercom.

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In a statement to The Hill, a Delta spokesperson would not confirm whether the incident took place, but the spokesperson said there is compensation for ground staff when circumstances like it occur.

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