US airlines, which are still rebuilding flight crews after the COVID-19 pandemic travel slowdown, cancelled more than 2,500 flights over the four-day Memorial Day holiday that marks the traditional start of the busy summer travel season.
Airlines worldwide cancelled more than 1,500 flights on Monday 30 May, according to FlightAware, after cancelling 1,642 on Sunday 29 May. On Monday 30 May, there were approximately 400 US flights cancelled and 2,400 delayed, the flight tracking website said.
Thunderstorms in Florida, New York and the mid-Atlantic were a factor in this weekend's flight delays and cancellations, airlines said.
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Airlines have attributed recent flight cancellations to weather, air traffic control, COVID-19 cases among employees and other staffing issues.
At the same time, airlines are working to ramp up staffing to handle expected record summer travel demand. A total of 6.5 million air passengers were screened by the US Transportation Security Administration during the first three days of the holiday travel period, down approximately 10% over the same period in 2019, but up over 2021 levels.
Delta Air Lines DAL.N cancelled approximately 700 flights over the four-day period, according to FlightAware, including 134 flights on Monday 30 May, or approximately 4% of scheduled trips. On Monday 30 May, Delta delayed 9% of its flights.
Delta said Monday 30 May that over the weekend it had been working to cancel flights "at least 24 hours in advance of departure time wherever possible." The airline said that 94% of passengers on Sunday 29 May were accommodated on alternative flights within an average of 10 hours of their original departure time.
On Thursday 26 May, Delta said that it was trimming some flights over the Memorial Day weekend and into early August to improve operational reliability.
Severe thunderstorms in Miami were a significant factor in flight cancellations and delays, American Airlines AAL.O said. The airline cancelled 119 flights on Monday 30 May and 74 on Sunday 29 May, or approximately 2% of scheduled trips. It also delayed 11% of flights on Monday 30 May.
A growing percentage of US flights fly through Florida. In total, 45% of JetBlue JBLU.O flights touch Florida, while 40-50% of Southwest Airlines LUV.N touch Florida on any given day.
JetBlue Airways JBLU.O delayed 18% of its flights on Monday 30 May after delaying 30% on Sunday 29 May but cancelled only 1% on Monday 30 May. Last month, JetBlue said that it was reducing its originally planned summer schedule by more than 10%.