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Airlines cancel more than 1,000 flights ahead of Memorial Day as staffing shortages disrupt travel

More than 1,000 flights have been canceled in the United States as an estimated 39 million people prepare to travel over Memorial Day weekend.

Airlines reported 355 canceled flights in, to or from the US on Saturday morning and nearly 900 delays, according to tracking service Flight Aware.

Saturday’s early-morning cancellations appear to mirror those on Friday, in which there were more than 1,200 cancellations and more than 7,000 delays across the country. Globally, airlines reported more than 2,300 cancellations and 17,500 delays.

Most of Friday’s outages occurred at the three New York City airports and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in DC. As of Saturday morning, the vast majority of delays and cancellations appear to be outside of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia.

Meanwhile, 39.2 million people are expected to travel this weekend with 3.01 million planning to fly. About 90 percent, or 34.9 million, will travel by car, according to AAA. More than 1.33 million plan to use trains and buses or take a cruise.

More than 1,000 flights have been canceled in the United States as an estimated 39 million people prepare to travel over Memorial Day weekend.

More than 1,000 flights have been canceled in the United States as an estimated 39 million people prepare to travel over Memorial Day weekend.

The Federal Aviation Association says staffing issues and traffic volumes caused many of the nation’s largest airports to experience ground stops and delays, limiting takeoffs and landings.

The staffing shortage, which has been going on since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, caused many airlines to cancel certain routes and scale back summer flight plans. The Wall Street Journal informed.

Simultaneously, the aviation industry is seeing an influx of demands and customers now that COVID restrictions have been lifted, meaning airlines and flight staff are unable to meet travel demand.

New York-area airports have been hardest hit by the drop in flights with about 15 percent of flights cancelled.

Airlines reported 355 canceled flights in, to or from the US on Saturday morning and nearly 900 delays, according to tracking service Flight Aware.  Saturday's early-morning cancellations appear to mirror those on Friday, in which there were more than 1,200 cancellations and more than 7,000 delays across the country.

Airlines reported 355 canceled flights in, to or from the US on Saturday morning and nearly 900 delays, according to tracking service Flight Aware. Saturday’s early-morning cancellations appear to mirror those on Friday, in which there were more than 1,200 cancellations and more than 7,000 delays across the country.

39.2 million people are expected to travel this weekend with 3.01 million planning to fly.  Ninety percent of people will travel by car

39.2 million people are expected to travel this weekend with 3.01 million planning to fly. Ninety percent of people will travel by car

Delta Air Lines, one of the “Big Four” airlines in the United States, canceled six percent of its main routes on Friday, halting travel for the Memorial Day weekend. The airline has also eliminated several of its summer routes.

“In recent months, we have made a number of adjustments to minimize disruptions and recover faster when challenges arise. And that’s why we’ll be taking additional steps in the coming days and weeks to strategically reduce our flight schedule this summer,” Delta said in a press release Thursday.

‘From July 1 to August 1. 7, we will reduce service by approximately 100 daily departures, primarily in the US and Latin American markets that Delta frequently serves.”

The airline, on Saturday in a statement to Well-informed person, added: ‘For this Memorial Day weekend, we are looking to enact cancellations at least 24 hours prior to tee time whenever possible. Our schedule today reflects the heavy impact of adverse weather and air traffic control actions yesterday.”

Delta did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.

Similarly, American and United are reducing flight capacity compared to their pre-pandemic levels.

Several airlines also revealed they are cutting training requirements to get more pilots into the skies amid ongoing staffing shortages that the airlines say has “exacerbated scheduling issues.”

Most of Friday's outages occurred at the three New York City airports and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in DC.  Travelers are photographed Friday at New York's JFK airport.

Most of Friday’s outages occurred at the three New York City airports and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in DC. Travelers are photographed Friday at New York’s JFK airport.

About 1.33 million plan to use trains and buses over Memorial Day weekend.  Commuters are shown waiting to board trains at Moynihan Train Hall in New York on Friday.

About 1.33 million plan to use trains and buses over Memorial Day weekend. Commuters are shown waiting to board trains at Moynihan Train Hall in New York on Friday.

Motorists can also expect significant delays this weekend as more than 34 million people hit the road.  Congested traffic patterns seen along the New Jersey Turnpike on Friday

Motorists can also expect significant delays this weekend as more than 34 million people hit the road. Congested traffic patterns seen along the New Jersey Turnpike on Friday

Motorists can also expect significant delays this weekend as more than 34 million people hit the road, an increase of more than one million compared to last Memorial Day.

AAA Traffic Data Partner INRIX predicts that “drivers in major US metropolitan areas could experience double the travel time compared to a normal commute” this weekend.

The data service claims that the worst of the delays should have occurred on Thursday and Friday afternoon, however the road is expected to be congested throughout the weekend.

The three worst cities to drive this weekend are Atlanta, Boston and Chicago, respectively.

INRIX also advised that those choosing to travel this weekend should hit the road before 10am, noting that traffic jams and delays would occur from afternoon to evening.

The worst of the delays should have occurred on Thursday and Friday afternoon, however the road is expected to be congested throughout the weekend.  Travelers are shown in New York City on Friday boarding a shuttle bus to JFK airport

The worst of the delays should have occurred on Thursday and Friday afternoon, however the road is expected to be congested throughout the weekend. Travelers are shown in New York City on Friday boarding a shuttle bus to JFK airport

Those who choose to travel this weekend should hit the road before 10 am Traffic will become heaviest in the afternoon and early evening.  Motorists are shown driving along the congested Capital Beltway that surrounds DC on Friday

Those who choose to travel this weekend should hit the road before 10 am Traffic will become heaviest in the afternoon and early evening. Motorists are shown driving along the congested Capital Beltway that surrounds DC on Friday

Travelers and revelers alike should be prepared for the possibility of bad weather.

Travelers and revelers alike should be prepared for the possibility of bad weather.

Additionally, travelers and revelers alike should be prepared for the possibility of bad weather, AccuWeather warned.

Much of the northwestern US is expecting downpours, rain and thunderstorms over the holiday weekend, with parts of Wyoming and Montana bracing for the possibility of snow.

Floridians and those along the South Atlantic coast in Georgia and South Carolina can also expect rainy weather to spoil the weekend’s fun.

A swath of thunderstorms from the Carolinas to eastern New York brought high wind gusts, hail and at least one isolated tornado Friday night.

The same storm system prompted multiple tornado watches for parts of Virginia, North Carolina and Maryland.

However, the risk of gusty thunderstorms and flooding, while it’s still there, will be reduced in the Northeast on Saturday.

The storm is forecast to continue moving east, allowing a patch of warm, dry air to build up from the central US.

Forecasters predict that East Coast residents will have a better chance of enjoying the festivities outdoors on Sunday and Monday.

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