July 4th Holiday Travel Woes

AAA reports this Fourth of July holiday could set travel records, and airlines are prepping to handle the rush.

What You Need To Know

  • Many tourists plan on traveling over the Fourth of July holiday weekend
  • So far, thousands of flights have been canceled or delayed
  • Local airlines remain hopeful they will be able to continue to service their customers

Experts say more than 2.5 million Floridians have made plans to head away from home, and millions more have made plans to visit Central Florida.

The increased volume will put pressure on not just jammed roads but slammed airports across the U.S.

On Thursday, more than 2,400 flights were canceled and another 20,000 were delayed, according to FlightAware, a flight tracker website. 

“Certainly we’ve all seen the headlines and experienced through the summer some pretty unprecedented challenges,” said Avelo spokeswoman Victoria Stenos.

Stenos said that aside from bad weather, their small carrier has been mostly lucky in terms of cancellations and the factors that cause them.

“We are fully staffed with our pilot group and flight attendant group,” she said.

Experts say keeping up with the demand has been a tougher challenge for larger airlines.

In a statement, Delta officials said the company’s team continues to work through flight cancellation issues to make holiday traveling easier for its customers.

The statement read:

“Delta teams continue to safely manage through compounding factors affecting our operation, including air traffic control constraints, weather, and unscheduled absences in some of our work groups. Despite the historic challenges facing our industry, the resilience of Delta people is strong. Steps we’ve taken include offering more flexibility for travel plans for the holiday weekend and adjusting details of our summer schedule so that when challenges occur, we can bounce back faster. Canceling a flight is always our last resort.”

The airline is also dealing with pilots picketing, but according to a Delta spokesperson, it won’t affect its operation.

Delta began offering waivers for any of its customers whose flights get canceled this holiday weekend.

Meanwhile, a Spirit Airlines spokesperson said the airline “is running one of the best operations in the industry right now.”

But according to Flightaware, Spirit airlines canceled about 35% of its flights in April and more than 16% last month.

Greater Orlando Aviation Authority CEO Kevin Thibault said their partners (airlines and federal agencies) have been able to increase recruitment to fill positions and improve the situation for travelers

“They’re now moving to training those individuals so they can be online as quickly as they can,” he said.

A Southwest Airlines spokesperson said in a statement that the airline hired more than 10,000 employees this year to keep up with travel demand.

“Southwest is currently operating our peak, summer flight schedule connecting a network of 121 airports across 11 countries,” the statement said. “We’ve been hard at work to prepare for this busy season and have taken many steps aimed toward supporting operational performance.

“As a result, since the beginning of May, Southwest has posted solid operational reliability in terms of flight completions and a cancellation rate among the lowest of ranked carriers.”

The airline has also cut thousands of flights from its schedule.

Experts predict 1.7 million people will travel through Orlando International Airport during the holiday weekend.

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