As flight cancellations and delays pile up, airlines may not get back on track until Labor Day

It was a rough holiday weekend, as airlines canceled 1,200 flights on Friday, another 1,200 on Saturday and Sunday, and about 300 and 225 on Monday, July 4. Delayed flights were also in the thousands at airports such as Denver, Miami, Atlanta, Newark and Minneapolis, with ground stops – all traffic halted. And passengers were delayed not only on airlines and on the tarmac, but at many passenger security checkpoints at US airports.

Overseas, major delays and cancellations occurred at airports such as Lisbon, Frankfurt, Dublin and Amsterdam. The situation in Amsterdam was so dire, the Netherlands issued an unprecedented order asking airlines to suspend any further ticket sales between now and the end of July. This almost immediately raised the price of airfares – which are now skyrocketing. On many journeys within Europe, the train is fast becoming a very attractive option.

Delays and cancellations are likely to continue, as airlines either can’t get employees, or if they do, rapidly train new employees.

The general rule for delays and cancellations is that there is a schedule disruption every 12 hours, taking approximately 36 hours to get the crew back on schedule and the planes back in order. But this time the airlines are not dealing with a single event like weather. This is a recurring problem due to staff shortage and overscheduled airlines. Airline schedules may not stabilize until after Labor Day, when a combination of reduced demand and newly hired — and trained — airline employees begins to work.

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