Dozens of Delta passengers were left stranded at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport for more than 24 hours over the weekend following a series of cancellations.
On Saturday, Delta canceled 219 flights, among the 2,709 called off nationwide, according to Flight Aware, leaving customers with the short-end of the stick as the airline also delayed 672 flights, with 17,049 flights delayed across the country.
Disabled U.S. Army veteran Joe Reis told 11 Alive that the delays and cancellations have kept him from returning home from his honeymoon and accessing the charger for his hearing aids.
‘Instead of it being a happy honeymoon, it became a very miserable plane ride waiting for this hell hole to let us finally leave,’ Reis said, adding that he had to sleep on the floor on Saturday. ‘I have to rely on hearing aids, and so my charging port is actually in my bag in Omaha.’
New mother Brooke Osborne echoed the complaints, saying that she was running out of diapers and formula for her 11-month-old daughter, Carson.
‘We’ve just been giving her more food throughout the day and less bottles since all of her formula is in our checked bag, which is in Omaha,’ she told the local outlet.
U.S. Army veteran Joe Reis (left) and new mother Brook Osborne (right) said they were stuck at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport for 24 hours on Saturday, with their bags containing essential equipment waiting for them in Omaha, Nebraska
Osborne said she was running out of diapers and formula for her 11-month-old daughter
The chaos at the Atlanta airport (pictured) came after Delta canceled219 flights on Saturday, among the 2,709 called off nationwide. There have been 1,501 flights canceled so far for Sunday as the congested airports deal with the Father’s Day weekend
Rachel England, another passenger who was stuck waiting for her flight to Omaha, said she had been stranded in Atlanta since Friday.
‘We’ve been there since like 6:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m., the night before,’ England told 11 Alive on Saturday.
‘I told [Delta], ‘This is on you. You guys get me the reimbursement for the hotel,” she added. ‘I made sure to get flight insurance just in case something like this happens.’
In a statement about the delays and cancellations, Delta said: ‘We apologize for any inconvenience and delay customers have experienced as a result of issues primarily driven by weather, ATC, and crew resources.
‘Delta people continue working hard to deliver the operations customers have come to expect from us, and we are working quickly to resolve travel issues and get customers to their destination.’
The delays are partially driven by on-going storms throughout the U.S. after a heat dome settled over the Midwest and South earlier this week, creating the perfect conditions for surprise tornadoes and showers.
Delta has canceled 158 flights and delayed 39 so far on Sunday, according to Flight Aware, with a total of 1,501 flight cancellations scheduled across the country.
United Airlines has canceled 80 flights and delayed 15 on Sunday, and American Airlines has called off 17 flights and delayed 26.
Among the airports seeing the most cancellations on Sunday so far are Newark Liberty International with 45, Hartsfield-Jackson International with 30, Boston Logan International with 27, and New York’s LaGuardia with 25 and JFK International Airport with 21.
Travelers at New York’s LaGuardia (pictured) have experienced thousands of cancellations in the past few days, with almost 800 cancellations and nearly 3,000 delays on Saturday
Transportation Pete Buttigieg called on airlines to brace themselves and prepare for the hectic July 4 weekend and said travelers should expect more reliable service by then
The ongoing trends of frustrated travelers and high number of cancellations pushed Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg to tell airline executives to clean up their act and avoid another flying catastrophe before July 4.
Buttigieg, alongside millions of other travelers, are tired of what feels like constant cancellations without so much as an apology from the airlines.
The father-of-two has given airline executives a short two-week period to clean up the mess and guarantee travelers can enjoy a patriotic weekend and summer without the airport stress.
‘At the end of the day, they’ve got to deliver,’ Buttigieg told the Today Show. The Democrat met with top airlines executives on Thursday to warn them to avoid the Memorial Day disaster, where 2,700 flights were canceled.
On Friday, Buttigieg tweeted: ‘Air travelers should be able to expect reliable service as demand returns to levels not seen since before the pandemic.’
The number of travelers is surging back to pre-pandemic levels. This chart shows the same week over the last three years
A recent survey by the US Travel Association found than one in ten can’t afford to go on a road trip this year because of the increased cost and gas isn’t the only thing that’s more expensive
Travelers should expect to embrace a seemingly difficult travel season as not only are there less pilots in the cockpit, but less TSA agents screaming to take laptops out of backpacks.
Pre-pandemic, there were roughly 50,000 TSA agents employees, but in the last two years, that number has dipped to 46,000.
Many TSA checkpoints were closed during the height of the pandemic in 2020 – creating bottlenecks at already-crowded ports.
On top of that, TSA lost an abundance of workers due to the vaccine mandate last year. Official numbers have not been released for how many agents were lost to other jobs during the pandemic, but the agency is recruiting across the country.