Airlines cancel thousands of flights as storm smacks US travelers

The travel plans of tens of thousands of air passengers were turned upside down on Friday after airlines canceled about 1,400 U.S. flights as thunderstorms hit the east coast.

Another 6,300 flights had been delayed by early evening, adding more chaos to those weekend travel plans, according to tracking service FlightAware.

It was the second straight day of major disruption and the worst day for cancellations since mid-June.

The three major airports in the New York City area and Reagan National Airport outside of Washington, DC saw the highest number of cancellations.

American Airlines canceled about 250 flights, or 7% of its schedule. Republic Airways, which operates smaller planes for American Eagle, Delta Connection and United Express, canceled a similar number, about 25% of its flights.

Thunderstorms halted or delayed early evening flights in New York, Boston, the Washington, DC area, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Denver, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

About 1,200 US flights were canceled Thursday, 4.6% of all scheduled flights.

Travelers have been hit by widespread cancellations and delays this summer. Travel is recovering faster than expected — to about 88% of pre-pandemic levels in July — and airlines have been unable to increase staffing quickly enough. They have cut flight schedules to make the remaining flights more reliable.

Airlines flying to the US had a bad June, canceling more than 21,000 flights, or 2.7% up from 1.8% in June 2019, before airlines urged workers to lay off during the pandemic. However, airlines fared better in July, canceling about 14,000 flights, or 1.8%.

The delays were more persistent – over 23% in June and July. Airlines cancel thousands of flights as storm smacks US travelers


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