It’s no surprise that traveling has ramped up this summer, as pent-up demand drives up travel trends. Airports are almost back to pre-pandemic numbers — which was especially evident this past weekend. However, flight delays and cancellations are actually higher than before the pandemic.
More than 1,000 flights have been canceled since Friday and over 12,000 were delayed, plaguing holiday travel.
On Friday alone, Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) had 784 delays, mounting to a quarter of its schedule. American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) came in with 1,000 delays, or roughly 30% of its scheduled flights.
So what’s the reason behind so many flight delays right now?
Biggest Reason for Flight Delays
Weather has been a huge contributor for many cancelled flights and flight delays. Unsafe weather conditions at either the origin airport, destination airport or during the flight can make for impossible flying situations. Unfortunately, there’s not much that can be done about the weather.
Another big factor? Staffing issues. Whether it’s a staffing problem related to pilots, flight attendants or air traffic control, it’s all slowing down the airports.
Beyond that, flight delays are also being caused by the usual (and unusual) suspects: Mechanical issues, waiting on cargo or connecting passengers to arrive, the domino effect of other delayed flights and even windshield damage.
Airlines are trying to combat the chaos any way they can. Delta, United Airlines (NASDAQ:UAL), Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV), JetBlue Airlines (NASDAQ:JBLU) and Spirit Airlines (NYSE:SAVE) all reduced their flight schedules in an attempt to give themselves a little more breathing room.
Several airlines are offering dollar amounts to flyers to switch flights. For instance, Delta recently made headlines for offering customers $10,000 if they were willing to leave an oversold flight out of Michigan.
While it’s unknown how long this situation will continue, one thing is clear: Demand for travel is back.
On the date of publication, Bret Kenwell did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.