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Flight Delays, Cancellations Continue As Summer Travel Surges

BURBANK (CBSLA) — Summer and holiday travel is taking off, but some travelers are finding themselves unexpectedly grounded.

Avelo Airlines Inaugural Flight As Investors See A Post-Pandemic Rebound In Low-Cost Travel
An airline employee wearing a protective mask works at a computer terminal inside Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR) in Burbank, California, U.S., on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. New money is flowing to low-cost airlines in the U.S. as they take on giant carriers racing to recover from the unprecedented collapse in travel during the pandemic. Photographer: Bing Guan/Bloomberg via Getty Images

"We were supposed to leave at 8:30 this morning, now we're leaving at 2:30 [p.m.], no notification they were cancelling the flight, nothing," Jason King, a traveler, said.

When King checked in 16 hours before his family's flight to Kansas City, he found out that the flight had been canceled and rebooked.

"It would've been nice to have a notification, 'Hey we're going to rebook you, is this OK,'" King said. "It's so last minute, you don't even have time to rebook another flight. There's nothing available so we just scrambled and had to take what we got."

CBS News Travel Editor Peter Greenberg said airlines are canceling flights because they know they do not have enough people to operate them.

"The airlines brought all of their planes out of the parked status, but you can't just kick the tires and turn on the ignition key," he said. "You've got to retrain these pilots.

"It's standard operating procedure, whether we had a pandemic or not," he continued. "Anytime you're outside the cockpit for a certain period of time, you've got to get back in there and re-qualify."

Greenberg also said U.S. Airlines have added more than 170 new routes in the U.S. in the last three months, making it harder for them to maintain.

"We have a perfect storm of pent-up demand and understaffing happening at the exact same time — not just at the airline level, but the hotels, restaurants, almost every sector of the travel industry," he said.

Back at the airport, Dominic Wilbert and his family found out that their flights had also been changed.

"We have a layover for a whole day in Texas tomorrow, and we have to wait a whole 24 hours to get on another plane to get back to Virginia Beach," he said.

All of the travelers also said they were shocked at the price of their tickets. Experts said that as the country and world reopens, a spike in leisure travel was fueling the price increases.

"You need to book now, but not just for the summer," Greenberg said. "Book now for September, which is the great magic month when you're going to see some really great deals."

Greenberg also said those wanting to save some money should consider flying to less popular destinations or using alternate airports.

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