More than 400 flights are canceled ahead of Fourth of July, Delta offers flyers $10,000 to give up seats

(Video Credit: WMUR-TV)

More than 400 flights have been canceled just as the Fourth of July weekend hits, causing Delta’s president to publically apologize to customers for the chaos and prompting an offer of up to $10,000 to passengers bumped from overbooked flights.

Over 4,000 flights have been delayed in the ongoing mess that is the flight industry following the pandemic. Politicians and passengers alike are furious over the delays.

One of the flimsy excuses being floated is that flights are being delayed due to weather conditions assailing the East Coast. The temperatures are in the high 80s and mid-90s which is common during the summer months.

The delays are mind-boggling. As of Friday, 402 flights within, into, or out of the United States have been canceled and 4,340 are delayed, according to the Daily Mail. The seasonal weather keeps being blamed but many suspect it is a pilot shortage brought on by COVID mandates and the firing of those who would not comply.

We need more pilots to enter into the profession as an industry, as a country, that’s important. And until we address certain things to enable that to happen, this is going to become increasingly acute,” Andrew Levy, CEO of ultra-low-cost carrier Avelo Airlines told USA Today in an interview. “The result is going to be less air service in this country and people will pay higher fares.”

Not only are delays ticking people off, prices are skyrocketing as well. Fuel inflation impacts the flight industry big time. Average gas prices have jumped 56 percent from a year ago and therefore flight costs have shot up with the average lowest airfares rising 14 percent. Mid-range hotel prices also climbed 23 percent.

AAA is predicting that 47.9 million Americans are traveling over the holiday. That’s up 3.7 percent from last year.

Delta Airlines is the leader in cancelations evidently, according to the Daily Mail. The company is now reportedly compensating customers with large sums of cash for getting bumped from their flights from Grand Rapids to Minneapolis.

The flight was set to leave Gerald R. Ford Airport on Monday. It was overbooked and customers were told the airline would be offering up to $10,000 for anyone who was willing to leave the flight and fly at a later date, according to KTVB.

A tech columnist named Jason Aten tweeted concerning the offer. He told KTVB he was traveling with a group of six people who all rejected the large payout offer in favor of flying on time.

Another traveler named Todd McCrumb from Boise, Idaho confirmed the offer happened. He was taking a flight to West Michigan for a high school graduation ceremony. At first, he thought the offer was a joke.

“It’s a true story,” McCrumb tweeted. “I was on that flight! Unfortunately, I could not take advance the offer, as I was flying with my wife who has very limited eyesight. She has to have me nearby when traveling.”

Another passenger claimed that she took a $1,000 payout.

“We just took a Delta bump from a 10:00am flight to 6:00 pm flight for $1,000 each,” she tweeted. “I thought that was amazing…maybe we should have held out longer.”

Delta told the Daily Mail that their gate agents have the discretion to do “whatever is necessary” to get flights out on time. The airline has struggled since the beginning of the summer travel season with 3,583 canceled flights. Twenty percent of its flights have been delayed since Memorial Day weekend.

Delta head Ed Bastian announced that they would be adding extra boarding times, improving crew scheduling, and bringing on workers after canceling 81 flights and delaying 315 on Friday.

“We’ve spent years establishing Delta as the industry leader in reliability, and though the majority of our flights continue to operate on time, this level of disruption and uncertainty is unacceptable,” he stated in a letter to frequent flyer clients. “Things won’t change overnight, but we’re on a path towards a steady recovery.”

Delta pilots picketed the airline on Thursday at a number of major airports including LAX, JFK, and Atlanta. They are demanding renegotiation of their contracts as crews are reportedly overworked during the holidays.

American Airlines CEO Robert Isom commented on Thursday that its pilots were getting a 17 percent raise, according to CNBC. Under the new agreement, approximately 15,000 pilots would get a six percent raise at signing. Then, beginning in 2023, they would get a five percent raise which would be repeated in 2024.

United Airlines has reached an agreement with its pilots to raise wages by 14 percent within 18 months.

An Air Travel Consumer report from the U.S. Department of Transportation noted a dramatic uptick in complaints over the last year, according to the Daily Mail.

The report also ranked major airlines based on the percentage of on-time arrivals. Delta Airlines was at the top followed by United and Hawaiian Airlines. Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines ranked next in line. Jet Blue was dead last with a 53 percent on-time arrival rating.

The Biden administration is blaming the airlines, asserting that after they received billions in stimulus money to keep afloat during the pandemic, delays shouldn’t be happening.

Sen. Bernie Sanders is demanding that D.C. fine airlines $55,000 per passenger for every flight cancelation they know can’t be fully staffed. He also said the DOT should impose a $15,000 fine per passenger facing extended delays on domestic and international flights.

“The American people are sick of airlines ripping them off, canceling flights at the last minute, and delaying flights for hours on end,” he proclaimed. “Given all of the generous taxpayer support that has been provided to the airline industry, all of us have a responsibility to make sure that passengers and crew members are treated with respect, not contempt.”

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