Summer travel nightmares have continued, with more than 19,000 flights delayed and nearly 3,000 more canceled since Sunday in the U.S. This summer, nearly a quarter of flights by U.S. airlines have been delayed, according to FlightAware. The average delay has been almost an hour.
Severe weather coupled with airline and air traffic control staffing issues made Paul Thompson’s trip from Los Angeles to New York a three-day trek.
“It’s incredibly frustrating. I mean, you can’t rely upon anything,” Thompson said.
In New York, Joby Palathinkal, his wife and their toddler got stuck trying to get to Tampa.
“Delayed another hour, delayed another hour,” he said. “And now today, the same thing is happening again.”
Cancellations in Denver had airlines rolling out cots for stranded flyers.
In Seattle, there was a different disruption on an Alaska Airlines flight to San Diego as the plane’s engine cover ripped off during takeoff Monday morning. No one was injured.
“We are still seeing far, far too many delays and cancellations,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told CBS News, adding that he thinks airlines need to be held to a higher standard.
Buttigieg sent a letter to airlines last week calling their performance unacceptable. Airlines say they’ve reduced flying and increased hiring in an attempt to keep pace.
“It doesn’t take nearly as long to qualify somebody to get into a call center as it does the cockpit,” Buttigieg said. “We need to make sure of is that passengers have a clear understanding of their rights.”
The Transportation Department plans to launch a website in the coming days that makes clear what kinds of accommodations each U.S. airline provides for delays and cancellations. The department is also finalizing new regulations that would require refunds for lengthy delays or significant schedule changes.