Thursday expected to be the busiest day for air travel ahead of 4th of July holiday
Federal officials say Thursday is expected to be the busiest day for flying in what could be a record-breaking Fourth of July weekend for travel.
This comes as tens of thousands of flights have already been canceled or delayed, due to severe weather and hazy smoke with more expected in the coming days. There have been more than 38,000 U.S. flight cancellations or delays since last Saturday, with the majority being with United Airlines for five straight days.
Air travelers are now hoping for the best.
“I don’t want to know that because I’m leaving on Saturday and I don’t want to know about cancellations,” said Walter Jenkins, a traveler at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP).
“Hopefully Minnesota’s not as bad as long as we can see through the smoke,” laughed Julie Klapstein, another traveler at MSP.
Airlines are hoping to ease their backlog of flights once the weather improves.
On Thursday morning, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported there are more than 52,000 flights scheduled for Thursday, making it the busiest travel day of the holiday stretch.
The number of people choosing to fly is on the rise, even compared to before March 2020. AAA is predicting air travel to be up 11% compared to last year and about six percent higher than 2019.
Across the country, the FAA says they’re watching out for severe weather.
“We’re going to continue working on everything the FAA can control and we’re going to continue pressing the airlines to handle everything that’s under their control,” said Pete Buttigieg, Secretary for the U.S. Department of Transportation.
As of 6:30 a.m. Thursday, there were 600 delays and roughly 300 cancellations across the country, with six flights departing MSP being canceled. Seven others who were expected to arrive at MSP were also canceled.
In addition to air traffic, more than 43 million people are expected to be on the roads for the holiday weekend.
You can find an interactive traffic map below. CLICK HERE to find the status of your flight.