Jul 7, 2022 - News

Don't expect easy air travel this summer

Illustration of a travel postcard with an airplane appearing in the text of a scream.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Planning to fly this summer? Be sure to pack some patience.

Piloting the news: Facing staffing shortages, airlines' struggles to keep pace with a sudden upswing in demand is leading to delays and cancellations, Axios' Nathan Bomey reports.

Why it matters: After being stuck at home for the past couple summers, people are eager to fly again.

  • A pandemic-era record number of Americans took to the skies over the Fourth of July weekend despite predictions of a hellish few days for air travel, Axios' Alex Fitzpatrick reports.

By the numbers: In the first four months of 2022, just 73.5% of arrivals to John Glenn Columbus International Airport were on time, according to the most recent U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics data.

  • The only lower year-to-date figure over the past decade was in 2014, a year skewed by bad winter weather.
  • More than 4.4% of arrivals were canceled, more than double the average for a typical year.
  • Since Memorial Day, passenger traffic has been about 90% of what it was during the same time frame in 2019, airport spokesperson Sarah McQuaide tells Axios.

Meanwhile, a below-average 78.6% of departures were on time and a well-above-average 4.5% were canceled.

What we're watching: With the busiest travel months of the year upon us, the worst could be yet to come.

✈️ Travel tips: Book early flights, which allow for some scheduling wiggle room in case of delays.

  • Arrive at least 90 minutes before domestic flights and two hours for international.
  • Don't get slowed down at security by bringing prohibited items.
  • Get a REAL ID to be federally compliant by May 3, 2023.

💭 Alissa's thought bubble: I had my worst-ever travel experience by far in December. Passengers weren't informed until after fully boarding that the plane didn't have a pilot and we had to get off.

  • Two hours and many vending machine snacks later, the flight was canceled.
  • Granted, it was a redeye on Spirit Airlines, so I guess you get what you pay for, huh?

📬 We want to know: What have your COVID-era travel experiences been like? Email [email protected].


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