There’s no way to sugarcoat this: Fourth of July weekend air travel is going to be a nightmare for everyone involved — especially if you’re traveling on Delta.
Thousands of flights have already been canceled by a myriad of airlines this week, according to NBC News… and it’s only Wednesday.
It all stems from the lingering effects of the pandemic. Airlines just do not have the pilots and other staff that are required to move this many people through the air, The Washington Post reports.
Adding to the issues are reports from CBS News that hundreds of off-duty Delta pilots plan to picket this weekend. They’re demanding a pay increase and that the carrier change their flight schedules to reduce disruptions.
The Air Line Pilot Association said in a statement that about 14,000 of its members are working longer hours even as thousands of flights are canceled.
“When delays or cancellations happen, the pilots share in our passengers’ frustration,” said Jason Ambrosi, a union official and Delta pilot, said in the statement. “As long-term stakeholders in our airline, seeing our operational reliability suffer is bad business and puts the Delta brand at risk.”
“The perfect storm is occurring. Demand is back and pilots are flying record amounts of overtime but are still seeing our customers being stranded and their holiday plans ruined,” he added.
All of this has now reached the governmental level. John Fetterman, the current Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania and a senate candidate is now calling on the Department of Transportation (DOT) to start fining airlines thousands of dollars for canceling flights they knew they didn’t have the staff to fly.
Because of the confluence of messes, Delta issued a systemwide fare difference travel waiver from July 1-4. Basically, customers planning to travel on those dates can rebook their flights before or after the holiday weekend with zero fare differences or change fees.
Rebooking has to happen before July 8, and the trips need to be between the same origin and destination.
It isn’t quite the same deal if those new dates don’t work for you, but you still want to take advantage of the offer.
“If travel is not able to be rescheduled within these guidelines, customers may cancel their reservation and apply any unused value of the ticket toward the purchase of a new ticket within ticket validity. Applicable fare differences may apply for new travel dates. Final travel must be completed by end of ticket validity,” the company wrote in a statement.
Great Wolf Lodge – the indoor waterpark place – is offering families who got stuck with fugazi 4th of July flight plans a bit of a relief. The company is giving the opportunity for 100 families to receive a complimentary one night stay, according to NBC12.
You just have to hope you’re one of the lucky 100.
I too am traveling this weekend, so I leave you with this miserable local news trope: pack your patience.