By some metrics, air travelers have enjoyed a less stressful summer than last year, but canceled flights remain high as airlines face their last big test of the peak holiday season: the weekend. of Labor Day.
The Federal Aviation Administration predicts it will be the third-busiest holiday weekend of the year so far, behind the June 19 weekend, which included Father’s Day and Presidents’ Day.
Hurricane Idalia is expected to move away from the Atlantic coast as most revelers get in their cars or head to the airport.
Airlines have canceled several dozen Florida and Georgia flights scheduled for Thursday, but very few for Friday, according to tracking service FlightAware.
Tampa International Airport said it would resume normal operations, including flights departing early Thursday.
Travelers can check the conditions under which they are traveling on the FAA website.
Thursday will be the busiest day in US airspace, with 52,203 flights scheduled, followed by 49,111 flights on Friday, according to the FAA.
After a lull on Saturday and Sunday, flights are expected to resume on Monday and Tuesday.
Figures include airline, military and some private flights.
The Transportation Security Administration plans to screen more than 14 million passengers Friday through Wednesday, up nearly 11% from the same weekend last year.
AAA said domestic travel bookings — flights, hotels, rental cars and cruises — are 4% higher than Labor Day last year.
The car club and insurance seller said international bookings have increased by 44% now that COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted, with top destinations being Vancouver, Rome, London, Dublin and Paris.
Gasoline prices are similar to last year. The national average was $3.83 a gallon on Wednesday, down a penny from a year ago, AAA reported.
On many planes this weekend, every seat is expected to be occupied, ending a busy summer.
American Airlines plans to carry nearly 3.5 million passengers on about 32,000 flights between Thursday and next Tuesday.
United Airlines is planning its biggest Labor Day weekend in its history, with nearly 2.8 million passengers over that same six-day period.
TSA figures show that the number of travelers passing through US airport checkpoints in August is 2% higher than in August 2019, before the pandemic.
The good news for travelers is that the rate of canceled flights is down about 19% from last summer, according to data from tracking service FlightAware.
Nevertheless, the 1.8% cancellation rate since June 1 is slightly higher than during the same period in 2019, and flight delays are even more frequent than last summer.
Weather is responsible for about three-quarters of all airline delays this year, according to the FAA, but at other times the volume of flights has been too great for FAA air traffic control centers. , many of which are understaffed.
Travelers enjoyed a small break after skyrocketing airfares last year.
The average fare for a domestic flight in July was down 9% from June and 19% from last July, according to the government’s consumer price index.
However, the index sample is skewed towards low-cost airlines: the largest airlines reported that their prices are closer to 2022 levels.
New York Post