Hundreds of flights were cancelled throughout the world by Sunday evening, adding to the growing number of flights cancelled during the busy Memorial Day holiday weekend in the United States.
According to flight tracking website FlightAware, some 1,460 flights have been cancelled as of 7 p.m. EDT Sunday. More than 2,300 cancellations were made on Friday, with another 1,500 on Saturday.
Nearly 450 of the cancellations on Sunday were for flights to or from U.S. cities.
Among major U.S. airlines, Delta Air Lines cancelled the most flights, with over 250 flights, or 9% of its operations, cancelled on Saturday. According to FlightAware, 160 Delta flights had been cancelled by Sunday evening.
The Atlanta-based Delta said in an email to The Associated Press that the cancellations on Saturday were due to inclement weather and “air traffic control measures,” adding that it tries to cancel flights at least 24 hours ahead of Memorial Day weekend.
According to News report, “around 90%” of its customers who had a cancelled flight Sunday were rebooked on a flight “later in the day.”
On Thursday, Delta said on its website that it will restrict service by around 100 daily departures from July 1 to August 7, especially in portions of the United States and Latin America that Delta usually serves.
“More than any time in our history, the various factors currently impacting our operation — weather and air traffic control, vendor staffing, increased COVID case rates contributing to higher-than-planned unscheduled absences in some work groups — are resulting in an operation that isn’t consistently up to the standards Delta has set for the industry in recent years,” said Allison Ausband, Delta’s Chief Customer Experience Officer.
As travel restrictions loosen and pandemic tiredness replaces the fear of acquiring COVID-19 while travelling, airlines and tourist spots are bracing for record crowds this summer.
Many forecasters think that the number of travellers will match, if not exceed, pre-pandemic levels. Airlines, on the other hand, have thousands fewer staff than they did in 2019, which has resulted in significant flight cancellations at times.
People who are only now booking summer vacations are suffering from sticker shock.
According to travel-data business Hopper, domestic flight tickets for the summer are averaging more than $400 for a round trip, 24% higher than this time last year before the epidemic and a whopping 45% higher than a year ago.