DALLAS — This holiday weekend has all the makings of a perfect storm for air travel. All major U.S. airports will see significant delays and possible cancelations due to peak holiday travel combined with labor shortages.
AAA expects 3.5 million people to fly this July 4th weekend, which is a 164% increase from last year.
"July 1 is going to be the busiest day since COVID started, but it'll only have that record for four days because July 5 is going to break it," said Scott Kirby, CEO of United Airlines.
Delays have already been seen at DFW Airport and Dallas Love Field over the last week. Customers told WFAA about delayed flights, overbooked flights, and even cancelled flights. Airlines have made it known labor shortages among vendors have not helped the situation.
According to FlightAware, as of 9 p.m. Thursday, July 1, both Southwest and American Airlines account for 300 canceled flights and 2,200 delayed flights.
Also if you're still planning a trip overseas for later, there are significant delays there too. Passport renewals are taking much longer than normal.
"I got two clients that got theirs in four weeks, and that was last month," said Gina Spyropoulos, who is a travel advisor with Spy Travel.
Four to six weeks appears to be the standard wait time right about now. Spyropoulos told WFAA that before the pandemic, it would take one to two days for expedited service.
Passport offices across the country have been inundated with applications and appointments.
"I don't want that client that says I'm leaving tomorrow and my passport is expired, it's a nightmare," said Spyropoulos.
She recommends people find a reputable travel advisor to help you manage the ever-changing landscape of travel. She also recommends people act early, because traveling abroad in a pandemic comes with a certain level of uncertainty.
"Because of the fact that you know there are shortage and staffing, you know they're going to be long lines, just be patient," said Everett Kelley with the American Federation of Government Employees, and national president for TSA.
Whether you're flying domestic or international, there will be significant waits and certainly frustration. In what appears to be the latter stages of a pandemic, this will be the first real chance for people to get away, if you can.