US flight cancellations continue after weekend chaos

New York (CNN Business) – As of Monday afternoon, at least 744 flights have been canceled across the United States, according to flight-tracking website FlightAware. It comes on the heels of another chaotic weekend of travel, with more than 1,500 domestic flights canceled on Saturday and Sunday.

Delta canceled at least 214 flights on Monday, or 7% of its operations, while United canceled 122 flights and American Airlines 62. All three airlines have been contacted by CNN for comment on the flight cancellations.

“Delta teams continue to safely manage aggravating factors affecting our operations this weekend, including unexpected absences on some of our work teams, and restrictions related to weather and air traffic control,” a spokesperson for Delta Airlines said Sunday.

“Flight cancellation is always a last resort, and we sincerely apologize to our customers for any disruption to their travel plans.”

Experts warn of a hellish northern summer for travel. Although airlines received $54 billion in federal aid during the height of Covid to avoid forced layoffs, they now have fewer employees than they did before the pandemic, especially pilots, after introducing leave and early retirement to cut staff and save money. As a result, operations can quickly collapse due to bad weather, understaffed air traffic control centers, or sick staff.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and New York Liberty International Airport were hardest hit by cancellations on Monday, with more than 100 flights canceled in Newark alone.

United, which canceled 56 flights on Saturday and 70 on Sunday, said last Thursday it would cut 12% of its daily domestic flights from its busy Newark hub. The discounts start in July and include about 50 daily rides.

According to FlightAware, 634 flights were canceled in the US on Saturday and 868 on Sunday.

“More than at any time in our history, the various factors currently affecting our operations – weather and air traffic control, vendor personnel, and higher rates of coronavirus cases, are contributing to higher-than-expected unscheduled absences in some workgroups, resulting in To Operation Allison Azed, chief customer experience officer at Delta, said in an online post:

But critics say the airlines should have anticipated these problems ahead of the summer travel season.

“When you put the airline’s operating model to the test, that’s when you see the same results,” Capt. Dennis Tajer, a spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association, the American Airlines pilots’ union, said earlier this month.

Referring to the chaotic flying season of last year’s Christmas flights, with flights already booked to capacity, a trader added, “Flight cancellations not only create a ripple effect, but cause a tidal wave of problems.

CNN Business’s Chris Isidore contributed to this report.

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