US flight delays eased after a band of storms triggered thousands of revocations and delays for beleaguered carriers at the start of a long holiday weekend.
More than 10,000 flights within or to the US were late or scrubbed Friday, according to the tracking website FlightAware, a day after airline executives met with US transportation officials on how to stem flight disruptions.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said
Calmer weather on Saturday permitted the system to return closer to normal. Aside from airports in central Florida, the rest of the country was recording below-average delays, according to FlightAware. Saturday begins a three-day US weekend with Monday a public holiday to mark Juneteenth.
Buttigieg held a conference call with airline chiefs on Thursday, reminding them of the need to do all they can to reduce impacts from delays.
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The department has authority over consumer protections, such as rules governing refunds for revoked flights. But there is no prohibition for typical delays, most of which are at least partly the result of the weather.
On Friday, a line of storms stretched from Mississippi to Virginia, gumming up flights at large hubs in Atlanta, Charlotte, Washington, D.C., and New York.
At the same time, airline staffing woes as carriers rebound from the Covid-19 pandemic have made it more difficult to respond to the bad climate, leaving carriers with fewer reserve crews. Passenger totals remain about 12% below 2019, according to the Transportation Security Administration.
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