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As summer travel heats up, so do flight delays, cancellations

Air travelers in Las Vegas and much of the nation faced a third day of delays and cancelled flights Saturday in advance of Juneteeth and Father’s Day.

Nationwide, airlines canceled more than 2,000 flights Friday, as they tried to recover from storms that raked the central and eastern parts of the country. There were more than 1,700 canceled flights Thursday.

On Saturday, flightaware.com said more than 15,300 flights nationwide were being delayed and nearly 4,800 more had been canceled as of 4:30 p.m.

Harry Reid International Airport listed 13 cancelled flights and more than 150 delays by Saturday afternoon.

Travelers are urged to check with their airline about pending flights and delays.

Airlines meet with feds

On Thursday, Buttigieg held a virtual meeting with airline CEOs to go over steps the airlines are taking to operate smoothly over the July 4 holiday and the rest of the summer, and to improve accommodation of passengers who get stranded when flights are canceled.

Over the Memorial Day holiday weekend that typically kicks off the summer travel season, airlines struggled with bad weather and shortages of workers, especially pilots, leading to widespread cancellations.

Delta Air Lines, which canceled the most flights over the Memorial Day stretch, said Friday it has reduced cancellations by hiring more pilots and flight attendants and by scheduling crews to adjust more quickly to disruptions such as thunderstorms.

So far in June, more than 2.2 million travelers a day on average have gone through security checkpoints at U.S. airports. That’s up 22% from a year ago although still down 13% from the same period before the pandemic.

There is some concern in the industry about ticket sales after Labor Day, when airlines become more dependent on business and international travel, both of which remain depressed.

However, the outlook for leisure travel within the United States remains strong despite higher fares to cover rising fuel costs.

Allegiant bookings up

On Friday, Allegiant Air, a discount carrier that caters to vacationers, said that although it is early, bookings for trips after the summer are running above this time in 2019.

Allegiant’s update underscored a wild card still facing the airlines: COVID-19.

The Las Vegas-based airline said that as coronavirus cases began rising in mid-May, it canceled more flights because of absent crew members. Allegiant said those cancellations will cause second-quarter revenue to be at the low end of its previous forecast but still 28% higher than the same quarter in 2019.

Contact Marvin Clemons at mclemons@reviewjournal.com. Follow @Marv_in_Vegas on Twitter. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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