MIAMI (NewsNation) — For months, travelers have dealt with a summer full of turbulence in their travel plans. It has become a constant issue at airports across the country, amid high demand and low staffing; however, the rash of travel chaos has been exacerbated by the difficulties of flying to and from the Sunshine State, according to a new report.
“Florida plays a huge role in airline delays and cancellations,” said Johnny Jet, a travel expert.
Jet said that even if consumers aren’t traveling to Florida, any issues there could impact their travel plans no matter where they are.
“If there’s a problem in Florida, and there’s a chance your aircraft is coming from Florida, and you might be delayed, even if you’re across the country,” he explained.
Jet said there’s a huge demand to fly to Florida — a demand that shot up during the pandemic.
“People wanted to go to warm weather destinations and to places that did not have restrictions, so all the airlines started flying to Florida,” he said.
Travel is up to almost pre-pandemic levels. Earlier this year, United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said current travel demand was the strongest it has been in 30 years despite surging inflation. Delta Air Lines’ CEO Ed Bastian earlier this month echoed this sentiment, telling a conference demand is “off the charts,” per Reuters.
“It’s been a cluster and a half,” Andrew Levy, the CEO of startup Avelo Airlines, told The Wall Street Journal.
Meanwhile, rocket launches and military flights can create path restrictions and delays; however, the biggest issue is the weather. Florida is notorious for thunderstorms.
Weather-related delays in the state surged through the spring, The Wall Street Journal reported.
On Monday, the Federal Administration Association issued ground stops at two Florida airports due to storms. Numbers shared with NewsNation by the FAA show weather caused 46% of delays in Florida from January to June this year, which was more than equipment issues and staffing issues.
Florida isn’t the only culprit. Jet also said Dallas, New York and Chicago are other trouble spots. Chicago was ranked as the worst U.S. airport for delays, according to FlightAware.com — Orlando International Airport was ranked the second worst.