Travel experts predict ‘nightmare’ weekend for holiday travel

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The CEO of Delta airlines is apologizing after thousands of travelers have already experienced cancellations or delays this summer. It comes as AAA projects nearly 4 million Americans are expected to fly to their Fourth of July destination.

Travel experts predict it’s going to be a messy weekend at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

“It’s going to be bad. Things are going to get ugly, and my fear is it’s only going to get worse before it gets better,” said Kyle Potter, executive editor of Thrifty Traveler. The Minnesota-based website tracks flight and airline trends.

Potter said airlines are stretched thin and are struggling to keep up with the increased demand of summer travel.

“Every time travel demand picks up, as it always does heading into Fourth of July weekend, airlines struggle and they wind up delaying flights by the thousands and canceling flights by the hundreds,” Potter said.

Many airlines don’t have enough staff to keep up with the demand for holiday travel.

“Delta in particular does not have enough pilots to operate all the flights they’ve sold to the public,” Potter said.

RELATED: Delta issues waiver in preparation for July 4 travel disruptions

Across the country, thousands of flights have been delayed and hundreds canceled — and that’s before the holiday weekend sets in.

“Everyone’s flights getting canceled,” Kaelyn Bresnahan said. She and her friend Brandon Haag were supposed to be on their way to Montana for the Fourth of July weekend, but Delta canceled their flight and rerouted them to Salt Lake City.

“Now we have to get a rental car in Salt Lake instead of Montana and then drive the rest of the way because we were worried about the layover getting canceled and getting stuck in Salt Lake City,” Haag said.

Other MSP travelers aren’t to that point yet.

“I got a notification this morning via email just saying it was delayed,” Jim Kotz’s flight to Rome was delayed by an hour, but now he’s worried in could impact his layover.

“We got here real early because we kinda knew things might be a little messed up,” Kotz said.

Airlines like Delta are doing everything they can to try to keep customers happy.

“Delta also did something completely unprecedented. They’re allowing people with travel from July 1st to the 4th to change flights completely free,” Potter said. “No fare differences, no fees.”

He explained the airline is hoping enough travelers change their flights to help relieve and prevent more cancellations over the weekend.

For those who are flying, Potter suggests arriving at the airport early and being prepared to be flexible if your flight changes.