Airlines canceled thousands of flights after the storm landed travelers in the United States
The travel plans of tens of thousands of travelers were upended Friday after airlines canceled about 1,400 US flights as thunderstorms hit the East Coast.
Another 6,300 flights were delayed by early evening adding to the chaos in weekend travel plans, according to tracking service FlightAware.
It was the second consecutive day of major disruptions and the worst day of cancellation since mid-June.
The three major airports in the New York City area and Reagan National Airport outside Washington, D.C. recorded the most cancellations.
American Airlines canceled about 250 flights, or 7% of its schedule. Republic Airways, which operates smaller planes for American Eagle, Delta Connection and United Express, has canceled a similar number, about 25% of its flights.
Thunderstorms were halting or delaying flights early in the evening in New York, Boston, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Denver, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
About 1,200 US flights were canceled Thursday, 4.6% of all scheduled flights.
Travelers suffered widespread cancellations and delays this summer. Travel has rebounded faster than expected – to about 88% of pre-pandemic levels in July – and airlines have not been able to increase staffing fast enough. Timetables have been scaled back in an effort to make the remaining flights more reliable.
Airlines in the US had a bad June, canceling more than 21,000 flights, or 2.7%, up from 1.8% in June 2019, before airlines pushed workers to quit during the pandemic. The airlines did better in July, however, with about 14,000 flight cancellations, or 1.8%.
Delays have been more persistent – over 23% in June and July.