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Thousands of flights nationwide are delayed or canceled as July 4 travel kicks off

July 2, 2022 Updated Sun., July 3, 2022 at 8:16 a.m.

By Isabella Simonetti The New York Times

Travelers across the country faced the prospect of canceled or delayed flights Saturday as airlines and airports dealt with a combination of high demand, bad weather and staffing shortages.

As of Saturday night, nearly 650 flights in the United States had been canceled and more than 5,200 flights within, into or out of the country had been delayed, according to the flight-tracking website FlightAware.

While the number of problem flights was higher than on a typical travel day, travel demand was also higher. According to the Transportation Security Administration, the number of travelers over the Fourth of July holiday weekend had reached pre-pandemic levels.

FlightAware data showed that the three airports in the United States most affected by cancellations and delays on Saturday were Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and Kennedy Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport in the New York area.

The number of canceled and delayed flights was far below the levels over this past Christmas and New Year’s holidays, when bad weather and COVID-related staff shortages wreaked havoc with airline schedules.

Still, the airlines are scrambling to keep up with demand, as they struggle with a pilot shortage, weather conditions and air traffic control delays.

Delta Air Lines said it was offering customers the ability to reschedule flights through Monday with no fare change if they were traveling between the same origin and destination.

Adding to the stress at American Airlines was a computer glitch in its pilot trip trading system, the airline said. But American said it did not “anticipate any operational impact” and added that the “primary drivers of delays/cancellations” Saturday were “weather and traffic control issues.”

The Federal Aviation Administration said the top cause of the flight delays and cancellations was weather conditions, followed by travel demand. The agency added in a statement: “The FAA has acted on the issues raised by airlines, and is working with them to share information to keep aircraft moving safely when weather and other airspace events constrain capacity.”

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