Travel Mayhem: What’s Behind Summer Flight Delays and Cancellations?

air travel

Air travel has been a mess this summer, so we took a look at why.

There have been a number of flight cancellations and delays this summer, leaving many passengers stranded across the country. So what gives? We looked into it — check out our findings below. 

What’s happening?

Though the situation seems to be improving, Spirit Airlines has canceled more than 2,000 flights since Sunday, Aug. 1 due to summer storms, technology outages, and crew shortages. “This is not our proudest moment,” said CEO Ted Christie.

Other carriers have been struggling too: American Airlines had to similarly nix hundreds of flights last week due to weather-related problems, and Southwest said technological issues led to “extreme delays” and cancellations throughout parts of June. 

Is this part of a larger trend?

In short, yes. U.S. airlines have been struggling to keep up with a major uptick in travel this summer, as the number of passengers hits pandemic highs. Almost 2 million people passed through airport security checkpoints on Saturday alone, according to the TSA

Will it get worse?

It depends. Some experts expect it to continue at least through the summer, so expect some ongoing volatility and uncertainty. Industry insider Scott Keyes explained to The Washington Post that airlines have to plan their operations months in advance, and this year has been a “worst-case scenario” in terms of staffing.

And what are some steps travelers can take?

Experts recommend downloading your carrier’s app to get the latest updates in case your flight changes, and opting for carry-on luggage, so it’s easier to switch or rebook flights if you face any issues.