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Airports reach busiest levels since the pandemic as airlines brace for Fourth of July weekend

Holiday Travel
Posted at 10:07 AM, Jul 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-01 11:58:17-04

On Thursday, more than 2.4 million people passed through security checkpoints at American airports, which is actually over 200,000 more people than on the same day in 2019.

Data from the Transportation Security Administration is showing that travel heading into the Fourth of July weekend is on par with 2019.

On Sunday, 2.46 million travelers went through security, marking the busiest day at airports since February 2020.

According to the Air Lines Pilots Association, pilots are “flying record amounts of overtime” in order to meet demand. The union has been at odds with airlines, most notably Delta, after pilots picketed at Delta hubs on Thursday.

“We’re now going into the Independence Day Holiday weekend and are concerned that our customers’ plans have already been disrupted once again,” said Capt. Jason Ambrosi, chair of the Delta ALPA Master Executive Council. “The perfect storm is occurring. Demand is back, and pilots are flying record amounts of overtime but we are still seeing management canceling, leaving our customers stranded and their holiday plans ruined. Unfortunately, this mismanagement continues. And it extends to a complete lack of urgency to resolve our issues at the negotiating table.”

The union has disputed there is a shortage of qualified pilots, saying earlier this month that 8,000 newly certificated pilots have been produced in the last 12 months, well exceeding recent years.

Delta said it is possible flights are delayed this weekend. It is offering travel waivers to passengers to help with potential disruptions.

“Delta people are working around the clock to rebuild Delta’s operation while making it as resilient as possible to minimize the ripple effect of disruptions,” Delta said. “Even so, some operational challenges are expected this holiday weekend.”

AAA projects that 3.55 million Americans will travel by air this holiday weekend, which is down 9% from 2019. The organization estimates that 88% of Americans going over 50 miles this weekend will do so by automobile.