Here’s what airlines are doing to handle holiday surge

Rush Hour

CHICAGO (NewsNation) — In an effort to mitigate what travel experts are predicting to be the busiest Fourth of July weekend ever, with 3.5 million people expected to travel by plane over the holiday, Delta Air Lines is incentivizing travelers to change plans.

Delta is offering a systemwide fare difference travel waiver for July 1-4, which “allows customers to rebook their trip to before or after potentially challenging weekend travel days — with no fare difference or change fees, as long as customers travel between the same origin and destination.”

At the same time, United Airlines is cutting 50 domestic flights from Newark starting July 1 —a cut of about 12% of its schedule — joining Delta, Jetblue and Spirit, which have also nixed flights to allow for breathing room in their schedules.

NewsNation’s Paul Gerke caught up with a few travelers Wednesday in New York to capture some of their stories.

Anthony Oliver and his family came all the way from South Africa to celebrate a couple of birthdays at Disney World. But thanks to an issue caused by a fare change, they’ll be starting the celebration in New York.

“There’s nothing we can do,” Olivier said. “Now we’re stuck at the airport and there’s no airlines going to Orlando tonight and, yeah, so we are just laughing it off now because we can’t go anywhere. It’s a toss of the coin and I got the wrong side.”

“It’s damn crazy,” added Patricia, who was also flying. She was headed home to Miami on Tuesday — or so she thought — until her flight was canceled.

“I don’t even want to point fingers. It’s a crazy time to travel,” she continued.

“It’s how you deal with this right here. You got to make your best out of it,” said Anabel Evora, a former flight attendant who got stuck in the Big Apple after missing a connection. “Unfortunately, I’m here for another day but fortunately I’ve been able to experience New York for one more day. And for that, I am ecstatic.”

Stories like these will be common over the next week, as airlines attempt to manage their largest volume of customers since the start of the pandemic.

If you plan to travel for Independence Day, here a word of advice from those already in the fray:

Patricia suggests bringing “extra money and extra time.” Anabel says, “Just do a little meditation and just know that everything is an expression of who you are and an extension of yourself.”

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