PHILADELPHIA -- You could call it the perfect storm for the airline industry and consumers: bad weather, staffing shortages and high fuel prices.
Travel expert Henry Harteveldt has a pretty grim warning for those who plan to travel this summer.
"The summer of 2022 is likely going to go down as one of the most miserable summers for travel," said Harteveldt, the president and travel industry analyst at Atmosphere Research Group.
According to Harteveldt, things are only getting worse.
"What we have is an unfortunate confluence of several problems. First, bad weather. But the bad weather problems are compounded by staffing shortages both at the FAA and several air traffic control centers and at the airlines themselves," he says.
According to FlightAware, from Friday to Sunday, there were 2,867 cancellations from flights flying within the United States. That is 4% of the total scheduled flights. There were also 16,742 delayed arrivals (26%) with an average delay time of 53 minutes.
For just Saturday and Sunday, there were 1,544 cancellations from flights flying into, out of, or within the United States. That is 4% of the total scheduled flights. There were also 9,508 delayed arrivals (23%) with an average delay time of 50 minutes.
American Airlines operates a majority of the flights at Philadelphia International Airport and says it has "made progress towards normalizing our operation, with less than 1% of departing flights at PHL canceled yesterday. Weather has been the primary driver behind recent disruptions, not staffing."
Vince Mallet from Sewell, NJ had quite an ordeal trying to get his family to Florida.
"She has orientation tomorrow morning and we really can't be late. And before this flight, we had a different flight with a different airline that got changed multiple times, different days. We had to cancel it and get a new flight for today," said Mallet.
Harteveldt shared some tips for travelers:
- Think of your backup plans in advance.
- Look for direct flights, and how many flights that airline has going to your destination on your day of travel.
- Book early morning flights.
- And remember: this is a business.
"I'll be honest, the airlines are frankly enjoying charging these high airfares, they lost fortunes in 2020 and 2021. And if they are able to earn a profit this year, that's frankly what their investors want. And they care much more about pleasing their investors than the traveling public," said Harteveldt.
He also says he expects these problems to continue into 2023, but a lot of what happens will hinge on the price of oil, staffing, and whether we see a recession.