June 25, 2024

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Memorial Day 2024: Travelers see flight delays and higher prices

Memorial Day 2024: Travelers see flight delays and higher prices

Widespread flight delays across the United States have tested the patience of travelers trying to get started Memorial Day weekend, but the relatively few canceled flights raised hopes that airlines could handle the larger crowds expected on Friday.

The Transportation Security Administration expects Friday to be the busiest day for air travel during the long weekend, with nearly 3 million people expected to pass through. Airport checkpoints. The number of passengers could rival the record 2.9 million set on the Sunday after Thanksgiving last year.

Pasha Pedlopnyak waits for a domestic flight at Miami International Airport, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Miami. A record number of Americans are expected to travel during the 2024 Memorial Day weekend. (AP Photo/Lynn Sladky)

“Airports will be busier than we have seen in 20 years,” AAA spokeswoman Axa Diaz said.

Highways are also likely to be congested in the next few days as motorists exit the city and then return home. AAA predicted it would be the busiest early summer weekend in nearly 20 years, with 43.8 million people expected to walk at least 50 miles from home between Thursday and Monday — with 38 million of them taking cars.

The annual expression of wanderlust that accompanies the beginning of summer Travel season This is happening at a time when Americans are telling pollsters They are worried About the economy and the direction of the country.

“Memorial Day is the weekend. I get to spend time with family and friends, so I’d say that’s priceless, right? Anything to hang out with family and friends,” Nene Efebo said during a two-hour wait for a delayed flight at Denver International Airport.

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Some travelers reported Exposure to sticker shock When they booked their flights. Upon arriving at Philadelphia International Airport, Ciara Marsh said the city “wasn’t our original destination, but we chose here because it was cheaper.”

At Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, Larissa Latimer, of New Lenox, Illinois, said her airfare was reasonable, but other expenses for traveling to New Orleans were not.

Motorists travel along Interstate 24 near the Interstate 40 interchange on Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. A record number of Americans are expected to hit the sidewalk during the 2024 Memorial Day weekend. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Motorists travel along Interstate 24 near the Interstate 40 interchange on Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. A record number of Americans are expected to hit the sidewalk during the 2024 Memorial Day weekend. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

“I just have to make accommodations,” she said. “The cost of renting a car is gone… This year, hotel accommodations have been unusually very expensive.”

Cathy Larco, of Fort Myers, Florida, used frequent flyer miles — and some flexible scheduling — to pay for her flight to Chicago.

“I’m really conscious of looking at the cost of the whole trip. We’re going to stay a little further away than we normally do” to get a lower hotel price, she said. “We’re also going to come back a day later, because we can get cheaper miles.”

Airport unions are using the weekend to highlight their demands.

About 100 workers who clean plane cabins and drive garbage trucks at the Charlotte, North Carolina, airport began a 24-hour strike Thursday, demanding better wages and health care, according to the Service Employees International Union. About 15% of flights were delayed, but it was not clear whether the strike played any role.

However, a planned strike at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport was averted. Teamsters Local 553, which represents about 300 workers who refuel passenger and cargo planes at JFK Airport, said it reached a settlement with Allied Aviation Services and called off a strike that had been planned for Friday.

“We are pleased that an agreement has been reached, avoiding the need for a strike, and we hope that the agreement will be ratified by our members,” said Dimos Dimopoulos, treasurer of the local area.

More than 6,000 flights were delayed by early Thursday evening on the East Coast, with the largest backups at the New York City area’s three major airports and Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

Weekend traffic on busy highways and airports could be a sample of what’s to come. American airlines We expect it to carry Record number of passengers this summer. Their trade group estimates that 271 million passengers will travel by air between June 1 and August 31, breaking the record of 255 million. last summer.

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This story corrects the spelling of Florida City to Fort Myers.

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AP video journalist Melissa Perez Winder in Chicago and AP radio reporter Shelley Adler in Washington contributed to this report.