Jul 1, 2022 - News

July 4 travel headaches hit the D.C. region

Illustration of an airplane on a runway shaped like a "no" symbol.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Summer vacation is here. Yes! But so are flight SNAFUs and red-for-miles highways.

Driving the news (literally): This Independence Day weekend is set to be the second busiest for travel since 2000 with a record number of Americans planning to hit the road, according to AAA.

  • The group estimates the share of people traveling by air this weekend will be the lowest since 2011.
  • In our region, AAA predicts that almost one million residents—90% of local travelers—will drive to their 4th of July destinations this year.

Why it matters: Our patience is about to be tested.

Zoom in: Airports around Washington are seeing dozens of daily cancellations and delays, FlightAware data shows.

  • On Wednesday 24% of flights leaving BWI were delayed, and 4% of flights leaving DCA were canceled.

Airlines are cutting flights in an effort to limit cancellations, but when travelers have to make changes, there are few (or no) options to choose from.

Paige’s thought bubble: Just like Pete Buttigieg, I drove to New York recently after my flight out of Washington was canceled. Holy traffic!

Between the lines: Some lawmakers and consumer advocates are asking why airlines haven’t been able to better prepare after the industry received billions in pandemic relief funding.

What’s next: Sorry, frequent fliers, this problem likely won’t go away anytime soon. Airline staffing shortages could extend well into 2023.


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