AAA’s estimates are supported by data from the Transportation Security Administration. demonstration daily passenger screening numbers now consistently dwarf 2019 pre-pandemic numbers. Earlier this month, projections hit a new post-pandemic daily high of nearly 2.8 million.
It’s one of the clearest signs yet that pandemic-era restrictions are fully in the rear-view mirror for travelers.
Those record volumes set the stage earlier this week for perhaps hundreds of thousands of travelers experiencing delays and cancellations caused by intense thunderstorms and a technology malfunction in Washington, D..C..
Since last weekend, approximately 30,000 flights have been delayed or canceled in the US. The headaches continued until Thursday, when a ground stop was ordered at Nashville International Airport in tennessee because of stormyes.
Social networks were flooded this week with images and reports of passengers who were stranded.
But forecasts for the July 4th holiday suggest a «slightly lower» risk of thunderstorms, NOAA meteorologist Bryan Jackson told NBC News, adding that any storms that do form, especially on the East Coast, probably » not be so powerful», thanks to the improved air flows
That will be little comfort to affected travelers. Regulators and airlines say they are aware of the ongoing headaches. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg posted a youWednesday afternoon recognizing the issues and encouraging people to visit FlightRights.gov to explore compensation options.
The problem with that, according to Clint Henderson, managing editor of travel website The Points Guy, is that most of those rights only apply to non-weather events or events that are under the control of the airline.
in a release Thursday, the Department for Transportation said it was investigating «several national airlines to make sure they are not engaging in unrealistic flight schedules.» The agency did not respond to a request for additional information.
In a statement, US trade group Airlines for America said airlines are working around the clock to prepare for record-breaking air travel this summer. He said airlines have been aggressively hiring and reducing schedules «to reflect today’s operational realities, including FAA staff shortages.»
“To reduce pressure on the National Airspace System amid air traffic controller staffing shortages, airlines are operating 10% fewer flights than in 2019, while offering 12-14% fewer % more seats,” he said.
In a statement, the FAA denied that there were any shortages affecting recent operations. But Henderson said it appeared that the newly hired, and less experienced controllers made the decision to cancel more flights last weekend than could have been justified.
«You had inexperienced people working there, and they cut a drastic number of flights,» he said.
Henderson believes that a passenger bill of rights should be codified and should include compensation for weather events.
“Years have passed and the airlines have had the opportunity to turn things around,” he said. «They also got consumer bailouts during the pandemic. How much leeway are we going to give the airlines here?»