More Americans are spending Memorial Day weekend at home as airlines canceled 3,500 flights ahead of the holiday weekend.
Thankfully, this time, the cause of the mass cross-country cancellations isn’t another surge in COVID cases. Rather, bad weather and “air traffic control actions,” are responsible for altering travelers’ holiday plans.
Delta Airlines took the biggest hit, canceling a total of 240 flights, or 9% of its operations by Saturday, per CNN. Meanwhile, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Delta’s largest hub, saw 5% of its flights canceled and 7% delayed. Additionally, Delta stated that it expects to see 2.5 million customers this Memorial Day weekend. This is a 25% increase from 2021 passenger levels.
Already, travelers are facing incredibly high fares with domestic round-trip flights averaging about $400. This is almost 25% higher than just two years ago, CBS News reports. As a result, the weekend’s cancellations are the salt in a very expensive wound.
According to the airline’s statement to The Associated Press, it is trying its best to give at least a 24-hour notice to passengers of any canceled flights this Memorial Day weekend.
In the meantime, Delta travelers will have to keep a close eye on the status of their flights. And it wouldn’t hurt to be ready with a backup plan for their weekend trips. The airline is offering waivers for passengers willing to adjust their flight between May 26 and May 28.
Delta Airlines Announces It Will Scale Back Operations Ahead of Canceled Memorial Day Weekend Flights
On top of the Memorial Day cancellations and delays, Delta informed frequent flyers that it would be scaling back the number of flights it operates this summer.
“From July 1-Aug. 7, we’ll reduce service by approximately 100 daily departures, primarily in markets in the U.S. and Latin America that Delta frequently serves,” the airline announced. “This will build additional resilience in our system and improve operational reliability for our customers and employees; we’ll continue to proactively adjust select flights in the coming weeks.”
According to the company, this effort is to ensure that each flight operates according to Delta’s standards and expectations. In short, it is prioritizing quality over quantity during the height of summer vacations.
“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 Delta’s Chief Customer Experience Officer Allison Ausband.
“We deeply appreciate the energy and efforts of our people and the confidence of our customers as we adapt and pivot to ensure we provide the airline-of-choice experience we’re so proud to be known for,” she continued.