Thousands of flight cancellations mark holiday weekend

·2 min read

Thousands of flights wound up canceled and delayed during the Juneteenth and Father's Day holiday weekend, which included the busiest air travel day of the year on Friday, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

More than 2.4 million people traveled through TSA checkpoints Friday, the agency said. Airlines had canceled more than 1,100 flights by early Friday afternoon after they canceled more than 1,700 Thursday, according to The Associated Press.

More than 6,300 flights were delayed within, into or leaving the U.S. on Saturday, and 859 flights were canceled, according to the flight tracking platform FlightAware.

As of Sunday morning, more than 1,000 flights within, into or leaving the U.S. had been delayed and more than 700 flights had been canceled, according to FlightAware. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City and Chicago O'Hare International Airport had the most delays and cancellations Sunday.

About 2,700 flights were canceled over Memorial Day weekend.

Faced with staffing shortages, and a pilot shortage in particular, many airlines have already canceled thousands of flights for the summer season, including Southwest Airlines, which cut nearly 20,000 summer flights, The Dallas Morning News reported.

Delta is canceling 100 daily departures from destinations in the U.S. and Latin America, affecting travel from July 1 to Aug. 7. As part of ongoing efforts to call attention to their own challenges, Delta Air Lines pilots published an open letter to customers through their Air Line Pilots Association union Thursday, acknowledging both the labor shortage and customers' frustrations with canceled and delayed flights.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg met with airline CEOs late Thursday to discuss how to improve their operations.

In an interview Saturday with the AP, Buttigieg said that his own flight from Washington to New York was canceled Friday, leading him to drive, instead, and that he was pushing airline leaders to ensure they could fulfill their planned summer flights with the staffs they have.

Buttigieg added that the Transportation Department could take enforcement actions against airlines, but he cautioned that he wanted to wait to see how airline travel during the July Fourth weekend and the rest of the summer season unfolds first.

CORRECTION (June 23, 2022, 9:03 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated the origin of the open letter. It was published by Delta Air Lines pilots, not the airline itself.