Travel nightmare looms over July 4th weekend
Independence Day weekend is expected to be the second busiest for travel since 2000, with flight delays, cancelations and staffing woes.
Why it matters: It's a sign that the summer of "revenge travel" is upon us, with Americans splurging on travel and enduring delays to make up for pandemic-related cancellations.
The big picture: Airlines from coast to coast have been bracing for "operational challenges" this weekend, with some even encouraging customers to rebook their plans for another weekend.
Zoom in: Philadelphia International Airport this week saw roughly 180 delayed flights and 27 cancellations on one day alone.
- On any given day in recent weeks, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport has experienced a dozen or more delayed flights and a handful of cancellations, per the flight tracking website flightaware.com.
- Richmond International Airport had 218 flights canceled in June, a cancellation rate of 5.1%.
- Staffing shortages have also plagued Pheonix's Sky Harbor Airport.
- Members of Delta's pilot union will picket outside airports across the country to pressure the company to speed up its contract negotiations
Driving the news: A record number of Americans are instead planning to road trip this Independence Day, despite historically high gas prices, Axios' Kelly Tyko writes from AAA's holiday travel forecast.
- Airline troubles could be contributing to a 0.4% increase in road-trippers.
- But travelers aren't immune to delays on the roads, transportation departments are warning.
- In D.C. for instance, AAA predicts that almost one million residents — about 90% of local travelers — will drive to their 4th of July destinations.
- "There is a lot of pent-up COVID-19 demand to travel, so many people are still going to do it on the Fourth of July and this summer despite inflation and gas prices," Eric Jones, co-founder of The Vacationer, told Axios.
Be smart: Experts are asking travelers to plan ahead and be flexible on both the road or in the sky, Axios' Joann Muller reports.
- They're also encouraging travelers going by air to arrive at the airport with plenty of time to spare.
Between the lines: Staying home is also always an option.