(CNN) – Summer air travel has been trying, to put it mildly. Hellacious, many travelers would say.About 55,000 flights have been canceled in the US since the Friday before Memorial Day, according to data from flight tracking site FlightAware, and nearly a quarter of US flights have been delayed this summer.A “huge problem with staffing shortages” has plagued air travel this season and all of 2022 so far, said Kathleen Bangs, a former airline pilot and a spokesperson for FlightAware.Bangs is inclined to give the airlines the benefit of the doubt in their efforts to ramp up pre-pandemic flight schedules with 2022 staffing challenges.“I think they truly thought they would have enough employees return, and hire enough new ones, to meet the demand, but as we’ve all seen, they did not,” Bangs said.Weather and air traffic controller staffing issues have added to the summer disruptions.But some industry experts are cautiously optimistic about air travel this Labor Day holiday weekend, with predictions for a smoother fall travel season.According to travel app Hopper, 12.6 million passengers are scheduled to fly from US airports over the holiday weekend.
Thursday and Friday will be the busiest days, Hopper predicts. Monday will also be busy as travelers head home.The US Department of Transportation has posted a new online dashboard where passengers can find comparative information on what each of the large US airlines provides to passengers when delays or cancellations are caused by factors within the airline's control.Major US carriers posted updated policies this week in response to calls from the DOT for more transparency.
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