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American, Southwest Airlines Surge in Flight Delays Hint at Hard Summer

Date: July 6, 2021

By David Koenig USA Today

This summer is already shaping up to be a difficult one for air travelers.

Southwest Airlines customers have struggled with thousands of delays and hundreds of canceled flights this month because of computer problems, staffing shortages and bad weather.

American Airlines also is grappling with a surge in delays, and it has trimmed its schedule through mid-July at least in part because it doesn't have enough pilots, according to the pilots' union.

Travelers are posting photos of long airport lines and describing painful flights.

"It was ridiculously crowded," Tracey Milligan said after a round trip from her New Jersey home to Miami this week.

Milligan and her 6-year-old daughter endured hours-long delays on both legs of the trip. Before the flight to Florida, she said, JetBlue agents first told passengers there was a discrepancy with the plane's weight; then the airline was missing three crew members because the airline was short-staffed; then there was a weather delay.

"I really wanted to start screaming and cursing everybody out, but that doesn't get you anywhere, and security will come and remove you from the plane," she said.

At least the passengers on Milligan's flights kept their cool. Airlines have seen a surge in unruly passengers, and some experts predict it will get worse this summer as planes become even more crowded.

 

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