Delays, cancellations hampering air travel ahead of holiday


(NewsNation) — Many passengers across the United States were stranded for hours Sunday after their flights were either delayed or canceled. With a holiday weekend approaching, it’s leaving some stuck choosing between high prices at the pump, or uncertainty in the airport.

On Sunday, airlines canceled 2,875 flights and delayed more than 18,394 flights, according to FlightAware.

More than 800 of Sunday’s cancellations and 5,114 of the delays involved aircraft scheduled to fly to or from U.S. cities.

NewsNation Correspondent Ileana Diaz spoke with one passenger who spent her weekend at the airport, on standby, waiting to hear whether or not she’d make it to their final destination.

“I’d rather pay high gas prices. I don’t think I’m going to fly again anytime soon,” the passenger said.

It’s not just delays and cancellations that are upsetting. Passengers say the airlines are understaffed, affecting customer service.

After losing her suitcase, one woman told NewsNation she’s been trying to get answers since Saturday.

Airlines across the U.S. warned customers that they’d be cutting service by 15% this summer. They blame the COVID-19 pandemic along with a shortage of pilots.

The companies point the finger at the Federal Aviation Administration, saying there aren’t enough employees to man the airports or the control towers.

The FAA released a statement defending itself saying it’s airline companies who should be held accountable for the delays and travel troubles. 

“People expect when they buy an airline ticket that they’ll get where they need to go safely, efficiently, reliably and affordably. After receiving $54 billion in pandemic relief to help save the airlines from mass layoffs and bankruptcy, the American people deserve to have their expectations met,” the statement read.

Both airline and airport staff are down this summer, and it’s having an impact on just about every airport. Airlines are, however, hoping to hire more staff and get more pilots back in the air this fall.

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