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As the July 4th holiday weekend approaches, airlines get more attention

Dallas — An airline that has stumbled badly on the last two vacations when a traveler hit a national airport this weekend on July 4th. We are faced with the greatest challenge of being able to handle large numbers of people.

A problem arose long before the weekend, causing confusion as thunderstorms slowed air traffic.

According to FlightAware, American Airlines canceled 8% of flights on Tuesday and Wednesday, and United Airlines scrubbed 4% of the schedule on both days.

Holiday delights planning to drive face their own set of challenges, including soaring gasoline prices. According to AAA, the national average has eased since it hit a record $ 5.02 in mid-June and reached a gallon of $ 4.86 on Thursday.

Americans drive a little less. According to government statistics, gas demand last week was , down about 3% from the same week last June. In a June study at Quinnipiac University, 40% of those surveyed said gasoline prices had changed their plans for summer vacation.

US air travel is almost back to pre-pandemic levels. Since last Saturday, an average of nearly 2.3 million people have passed airport checkpoints each day. This is only an 8% decrease from the same day in 2019. If this trend continues until the weekend, a pandemic era flight record will be set.

Airlines may not have enough planes and flights to carry them all, especially if there are cancellations due to weather, lack of crew, or other reasons.

Travelers pass through Salt Lake City International Airport.

"Airlines have the difficult way of overpricing. "I'm learning. Optimism," said Joseph Schwittermann, a transportation expert at DePaul University. "They are on the edge of a cliff this holiday."

Schwieterman said the airlines operate with the number of travelers expected to fly this weekend. We calculate that there is almost no cushion between the number of scheduled flights. Airplanes are fully booked, so any confusion can cause confusion. On later flights, there will be no vacant seats to accommodate the stranded traveler.

The airline is in short supply as it tries to hire thousands of workers, including pilots, instead of those who advised them to quit when the pandemic plunges air travel. ..

Air travel in the U.S. is almost back to pre-pandemic levels.

Many of them, including Delta, Southwest and JetBlue, are summer Reduces stress on schedule operations. They use larger planes on average to carry more passengers with the same number of pilots. These steps aren't enough for now this summer.

Delta has taken an unusual step this week to warn travelers that problems may occur on weekends of holidays.

Atlanta-based airlines say they are expected to be the busiest since 2019, which creates "operational challenges." Passengers booking on Friday-Monday holiday flights can reschedule for free, even if the new flight is expensive.

"Delta people are working 24 hours a day to rebuild Delta's operations, while being as resilient as possible to minimize the spillover effect of the turmoil. "Masu," said the airline.

Travelers wait to board a flight to Chicago at Hartsfield-Atlanta International Airport.

Delta Air Lines was among the US airlines during Memorial Day. Had by far the most canceled flights Holidays according to FlightAware when US airline scrubbed nearly 2,800 flights and canceled 7% of flights last weekend. The season continued.

Airlines are increasingly blaming the Federal Aviation Administration for delays in managing airspace in the country and hiring air traffic controllers.

"The biggest problem this year and last year was air traffic control," said Frontier Airlines CEO Barry Biffle. “We took a lot of steps to avoid the Jacksonville Center on schedule, but reduced our flights to accommodate it.”

FAA has major facilities in Jacksonville, Florida. It handles many flights up and down the east coast. After meeting with airline representatives in May, the FAA promised to increase the number of staff in the center.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian has also accused the FAA of an online meeting with employees on Wednesday, the trade magazine Airline Weekly reported. Delta declined to comment.

People wait in a TSA line at the John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Secretary of Transportation Pete Butigeg was repelled by industry leaders earlier this week. Airlines for America has blamed the FAA's delay.

"Most of the cancellations and delays have nothing to do with air traffic control staffing," Butigeg told NBC Nightly News.

Helane Becker, an aviation analyst at investment company Cowen, said there are many reasons for confusion, including weather, FAA ground outages that are too long, and flight crew members reaching legal limits on daily working hours. I said there is. Airlines "look like they're failing" when it comes to their day-to-day operations. The FAA did not train enough new air traffic controllers to offset retirement. This process can take up to 4 years.

"We expect a long and tiring summer for everyone," she said.

A JetBlue airplane lands at John F. Kennedy International Airport ahead of the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

Most noisy lawmakers stuck passengers in most cases Seems to be blaming the airline as. It has also been pointed out that Congress has given the industry $ 54 billion in pandemic bailouts.

Senator Bernie Sanders (Vermont) has asked Butigeg to refund the airline for delays of one hour or more, fined for delays of two hours or more, and staffed. I requested to schedule a flight that I couldn't. Sanders accused the airline of stranded passengers while claiming "extremely high prices."

Butigeg threatened a fine if the airline did not modify its operations.

Senator Edward Marquee (D-Mass.) And Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) Told 10 airline CEOs this week to "immediately reduce travel confusion. I asked him to take action. " The Senator requested information on how each airline decides which flight to cancel and the number of requests and refunds to authorized consumers.