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Weekend flight delays, cancellations foreshadow busy summer ahead

If you booked a flight this summer, don’t be surprised if you run into some delays.
Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 4:25 PM EDT
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HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - If you booked a flight this summer, don’t be surprised if you run into some delays.

Travel numbers broke new post-pandemic records, and flight delays and cancellations have been widespread.

According to the TSA, Friday was the busiest travel day of the year so far, blowing Memorial Day weekend out of the water.

Travelers at Richmond International got pretty lucky with just a handful of delays Monday, but the airport had 30 cancellations over the weekend.

Nationwide, airlines canceled more than 1,700 flights on Thursday. By Friday afternoon, another 1,100 flights were scrapped.

Come Sunday, a whopping 2,700 cancellations and over 19,000 delays left travelers frustrated.

“We’re required to travel a lot for our job, and the only solace that we get is getting home on time,” air traveler Emily Tewer said. “When that’s taken away from us, it’s a giant headache. We’re just trying to get home after working all week, and then you have to travel on top of that. So, when you get delayed, it’s just another stab to the gut.”

Some of these flights were squashed due to severe weather. Also, not only are several airlines facing overall staffing shortages but there’s also a pilot shortage. The process of aviation hiring and training slowed and stalled.

“All of these things coming together at these really, really busy times, where we’re suddenly seeing traffic at the airport spike with more than 2 million people coming through TSA checkpoints, day in and day out, there are a lot of people, a lot of pent up demand, and people wanting to get back to doing what they were doing back in 2019,” AAA Spokesperson Morgan Dean said.

Some travelers had a more pleasant experience flying in and out of Richmond.

“I was fortunate; I had no delays, no interruptions, or anything. It was on time both ways,” Ed Jillson said.

Others were stranded after weekend cancellations.

“It can be rough, and there can be a lot of hoops that you end up having to jump through to find another flight to get home, and it may not even be that day,” Dean said.

Dean recommends booking mid-week flights, if possible, or early morning flights.

“If there is a delay or some sort of a problem with that flight, there are usually more opportunities later in the day to be able to get a different flight to get there,” Dean said.

Another tip AAA shared is adding travel insurance to your flight, which can give you some peace of mind and make rebooking easier.

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