Air Travel Is Chaos Right Now. What to Know Before You Fly

The summer vacation is back — if you can get there, that is. As resurgent demand for air travel collides with a severe staffing shortage in the aviation industry, delayed and canceled flights are rippling through the system. Add in the normal seasonal turbulence of summer thunderstorms and a pilot shortage that predated the pandemic, and you have a recipe for disaster.

On average, about 3% of U.S. flights have been canceled year-to-date, according to flight-tracking firm FlightAware. On Memorial Day weekend, about 5% of scheduled U.S. flights were canceled, and 26% were delayed. On Juneteenth weekend, 6% of flights were canceled, according to Kathleen Bangs, spokesperson at FlightAware.

As the summer travel season heats up, it’s becoming harder for airlines to k…