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Disruption to US flights finally eases as the holiday weekend comes to an end

Lighting tunnel in United Airlines terminal, O’Hare International Airport, Chicago Illinois.

Andrew Woodley | Universal Image Group via Getty Images

U.S. airline delays eased Monday as the weather improved, bringing welcome news for travelers and airlines as the July 4 holiday weekend draws to a close.

As of midday on Monday, 980 US flights were delayed and 177 canceled, down from nearly 4,700 delays and more than 300 cancellations a day earlier, according to flight tracking website FlightAware.

One in five US airline flights, more than 19,000, were delayed from Thursday to Sunday. FlightAware data shows that the majority of flights were completed and 1,600 flights, or 1.7 percent, were cancelled.

The weekend is a key time for airlines as executives expect tourist numbers to soar more than two years after the Covid-19 pandemic. Passenger spend more for tickets as fares have surpassed 2019 levels.

Staffing shortages in the industry, many of the results of outright buyouts that airlines urge workers to make during the pandemic, have exacerbated routine challenges like bad weather. US airline executives will begin detailing their summer operations and provide an updated outlook for the year in quarterly reports starting mid-month.

Airlines have spent the last few weeks avoiding such problems. Delta Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and others have slashed their schedules to allow more time to recover in the event of an incident, such as when thunderstorms hit major air hubs over the weekend.

Example: Delta took the unusual step of allowing travelers change their flight outside the peak period from 1st to 4th of July if they can fly on 8th of July without paying the fare difference, in the hope that customers can avoid some disruption on busy days best. Envoy Air, a regional carrier owned by American AirlinesPilots are provided triple pay to take on more shifts in July, CNBC reported last month.

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