Hundreds of flights worldwide were canceled by Sunday evening, adding to the mounting number of scrubbed flights during the U.S's busy Memorial Day holiday weekend.
According to the flight-tracking website FlightAware, about 1,460 flights were canceled as of 7 p.m. EDT Sunday. That followed more than 2,300 cancellations Friday and another 1,500 on Saturday.
Nearly 450 of Sunday's cancellations involved aircraft scheduled to fly to or from U.S. cities.
Delta Air Lines canceled the most flights among major U.S. airlines, with more than 250 flights, or 9% of its operations, eliminated Saturday. According to FlightAware, 160 Delta flights were canceled by Sunday evening.
Saturday's cancellations were due to bad weather and "air traffic control actions," Atlanta-based Delta said in an email to The Associated Press, noting it's trying to cancel flights at least 24 hours in advance of the Memorial Day weekend.
On Thursday, Delta announced that from July 1 to Aug. 7, it would reduce service by about 100 daily departures, primarily in parts of the U.S. and Latin America that Delta frequently serves.
"More than any time in our history, the various factors currently impacting our operation — weather and air traffic control, vendor staffing, increased COVID case rates contributing to higher-than-planned unscheduled absences in some work groups — are resulting in an operation that isn't consistently up to the standards Delta has set for the industry in recent years," Delta's Chief Customer Experience Officer Allison Ausband said in a post.
Airlines and tourist destinations anticipate huge crowds this summer as travel restrictions ease and pandemic fatigue overcomes the lingering fear of contracting COVID-19 during travel.
Many forecasters believe the number of travelers will match or even surpass pre-pandemic levels. However, airlines have thousands fewer employees than they did in 2019, and that has, at times, contributed to widespread flight cancellations.
People who are only now booking travel for the summer are experiencing the sticker shock.
Domestic airline fares for summer are averaging more than $400 for a round trip, 24% higher than this time in 2019, before the pandemic, and a robust 45% higher than a year ago, according to travel-data firm Hopper.
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Additional reporting by the Associated Press.