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HomeMarketAirline Delays Hit Thanksgiving Travelers on Busiest Travel Day Since 2019

Airline Delays Hit Thanksgiving Travelers on Busiest Travel Day Since 2019

Just over 2.5 million passengers passed through U.S. airport checkpoints Sunday but flights were grounded or delayed across the country.

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Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Flight delays and cancellations marred air travel on Sunday as bad weather caused disruption on the busiest day of the holiday season so far.

U.S. airlines enjoyed smooth operations and strong demand ahead of Thanksgiving but encountered turbulence as Americans made their return journeys over the weekend. 

Flights were grounded or delayed across the country from Reagan National and Newark Liberty International to Seattle-Tacoma and Chicago O’Hare airports, because of poor weather, restricted airspace due to the large volume of flights, and poor visibility conditions, according to the Federal Aviation Administration’s website.

Just over 2.5 million passengers passed through U.S. airport checkpoints Sunday, according to Transportation Security Administration data, the highest daily amount since Christmas 2019.

More than 6,600 flights in to, out of, and within the U.S. were delayed Sunday, while 177 were canceled, according to data from flight tracker FlightAware. Delays include flights arriving 15 minutes or more after the scheduled arrival time.

American Airlines
(ticker: AAL) accounted for more than 1,000 of those delayed flights, or 31% of its schedule. The carrier cited weather and air-traffic congestion when responding to users on Twitter. Close to 500
United Airlines
(UAL) flights were delayed, or 19% of its schedule.

However, the weather-related delays did not lead to significant cancellations, with both carriers canceling just 11 flights each.

The disruption is unlikely to blow U.S. airlines off course from what is expected to be a strong Thanksgiving and Christmas period for the sector. Passenger numbers have regularly topped 2021 levels this holiday season and have come close to pre-pandemic 2019 levels. Airlines have enjoyed bumper revenue in recent quarters as leisure travel demand has remained strong and international and corporate demand has started to recover.

American Airlines and
United Airlines
didn’t reply to Barron’s request for comment early on the day.

Write to Callum Keown at callum.keown@barrons.com


Credit: marketwatch.com

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