Air Travel Still High Amid Delays, Cancellations, Rising COVID Cases

Airlines are still scrambling to keep up with vacation crowds late in the summer travel season.

Are Americans concerned about rising COVID cases? Not enough to keep them from traveling. Demand for air travel remains sky high. The U.S. hit a new pandemic-era high Sunday as 2.2 million people went through TSA security checkpoints. Many airlines are having trouble keeping up. On Thursday, Spirit Airlines canceled more than four hundred flights. Catherine Banks, with Legacy Travel, says high demand, recent bad weather, and a shortage of staff are all reasons why they and other airlines are reporting more delays and cancelations.

“I think [the airlines] were perhaps a little heavy-handed with just letting go of people at the beginning of the pandemic,” Banks said. “Then, they were caught short when the travel demand came back as quickly and as strong as it did.”

There are no signs of a slowdown, even with Labor Day right around the corner.

“Hawaii, when they get to 70 percent vaccination rate, they’re supposed to remove all their restrictions even for unvaccinated people. So that will cause a wave,” Banks explained. “When the different European destinations open up, that will cause more waves. So, there are a lot bigger variety of forces on the travel market this year than there normally are.”

Banks is optimistic there will be less delays and cancellations later this year. That's because the airlines will have hired more staff in time for the Thanksgiving crowds.

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