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Thousands of US flights canceled as air travel hits pandemic record over July 4 weekend

Americans didn’t let high gas prices and airport chaos keep them home this July 4th.

Millions of travelers crammed into airports over the bank holiday weekend, and many have encountered chaos as thousands of flights have been delayed or cancelled.

The Transportation Security Administration estimates it screened more than 6 million people Friday through Sunday — a number close to pre-pandemic levels. Nearly 2.5 million passengers were screened Friday alone, making it the busiest day at US airports since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

It’s amid growing demand, staff shortages and high gasoline prices, a combination that has led to headaches for hundreds of thousands of travelers. Nearly 17,000 flights were delayed and more than 1,400 were canceled over the weekend, according to flight tracking website FlightAware.

One such frustrated passenger is Alam Khan, whose flight from New Jersey to Toronto was canceled days before his wedding.

“We just arrived, they let us know straight away that it was cancelled,” Khan said.

Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg has come under pressure to address the chaos.

“It’s something that affects all of us and it affects the economy when it happens because so many people can’t get to where they need to be to work, so many people can’t reach their loved ones,” he said. he declared. Morning” on CBS.

Buttigieg calls on airlines to do better, noting the industry received a $54 billion bailout at the height of the pandemic.

“We sent a lot of public funds, specifically to keep people employed in these airlines,” he said. “And now they need to have the people and they need to have the resources to get people where they need to go.”

This year saw more flights delayed than any other year in the past decade. The shortage of personnel is one of the main factors at play, especially pilots. Last Thursday, Delta pilots staged protests across the country to demand higher wages and better working conditions.

Airport chaos may be why 42 million Americans chose to bypass airports entirely this holiday and hit the road instead – despite gasoline prices near record high.

That’s what Khan finally did so he could make it to his wedding. He drove more than nine hours to Toronto after his booked flight from Newark was also cancelled.

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