Flight Cancellations Continue To Hit U.S. Airports Tuesday

Thousands of flyers could face miserable journeys on Tuesday with hundreds of U.S. flights already delayed and canceled — and it's still early.

As of 9:30 a.m. ET on June 28, there are some 882 delays reported for flights within the U.S. or flying into or out of the country. But, in what will be worse news for travelers, 477 flights have been canceled altogether. The delay and cancellation figures were reported by the flight tracking website Flight Aware.

As of publication time, American Airlines has canceled 211 flights and delayed 144, according to the website's data. While United Airlines is listed as canceling 78 flights and delaying 79. And Delta Air Lines has canceled 40 flights and delayed 141. All three airline figures are global stats, so may not necessarily relate to flights within, into, or out of the U.S. Flyers should always keep up-to-date with the latest information from their own airlines.

Newsweek has reached out to the three airlines for comments on the flight cancellations and delays.

Denver Airport Colorado
Airlines across the U.S. have been hit with delays and even cancellations today (June 28). Pictured: Passengers line up for TSA security screenings in June 2019 at Denver International Airport in Denver, Colorado. Getty Images

The bad start to Tuesday followed a difficult day for airlines at the beginning of the week. By the end of Monday, the total number of delays within, into, or out of the U.S. stood at 7,315 flights, with a total of 966 cancellations.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, some 54,992 flights were canceled in the first two months of 2022, or 5.3 percent, the highest ever recorded for the first two months of the year.

However, the issues plaguing American travelers today are not unique to the country. As of publication time, Flight Aware's data shows some 10,439 are delayed worldwide, with 1,982 completely canceled. And the complete picture for Monday shows that globally there were 22,065 delays, and 3,041 flights canceled altogether.

The aviation industry, in general, is suffering a difficult summer, battling a range of problems on a number of fronts. Airlines are dealing with global supply chain issues that can affect plane maintenance and repairs, inflation, and the skyrocketing price of fuel.

However, the key issue, according to analysts, is the current staffing shortage sparked by the laying off of workers during the pandemic, when demand for air travel plunged. Meanwhile, staff absences are occurring as a result of employees needing to isolate after contracting COVID-19.

"The biggest issue is [the airlines] don't have the capacity," New York Times travel editor Amy Virshup told CBS News. "They have not been able to bring back full capacity in terms of pilots, TSA checkpoints, vendors at the airport, baggage handlers, ground staff or flight attendants. So they're really struggling to ramp up their hiring again in the face of demand which is growing faster than expected."

The current situation paints a grim picture for those planning to fly around July 4 for the upcoming Independence Day holiday weekend.

Kit Darby, the founder of Kit Darby Aviation Consulting, told CBS MoneyWatch that typically the period at the end of each month and the beginning of a new one is the most difficult for airlines as their pilots have often reached the limit of the amount of time they are allowed to fly. "Toward the end of the month, and as we transition into the next month, is when it's the worst," he said. "The 4th of July is not looking good."

Newsweek has previously reported how Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg urged airlines to hire more staff in a bid to prevent travel chaos over the Fourth of July.

Officials will want to avoid a repeat of the travel chaos on Memorial Day this year when thousands of air travelers were stranded with U.S. flights canceled and delayed at the end of May.