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Delays, Cancellations plague air travelers on July 4 weekend; AAA says record numbers will hit the roads

Busy vacation season plagued by flight delays, cancelations
Busy vacation season plagued by flight delays, cancelations 02:58

NEW YORK -- The busy holiday travel season is underway.

But this year it comes with even more headaches in airports as delays and cancellations continue to mount, CBS2's Aundrea Cline-Thomas reported Thursday.

In an unusual move, airlines such as Delta are allowing customers to change flights at no added cost, for what they are calling "operational challenges."

The company says it expects to see customer volume this weekend at levels not seen since before the pandemic.

It had already been a very long day for Alexander Mihas when Cline-Thomas met him at LaGuardia Airport on Thursday morning.

"My flights got cancelled twice, and then I tried rescheduling it in the morning because I heard that's what helps and that got cancelled. But, luckily, I got switched and here we are. I finally made it," Mihas said.

He said he got little to no sleep navigating his Delta flight cancellations.

According to online flight tracker FlightAware, more than 2,300 flights into or within the United States were delayed by Thursday afternoon and more than 400 had been cancelled, and the numbers are growing.

"I tried being prepared by seeing which flights are getting cancelled, but it's hard to predict," Mihas said.

Many of the delays and cancellations are due to widespread staff shortages, from flight traffic controllers to pilots.

Experts say the problem is expected to last through the summer travel season.

Record 48 million Americans expected to travel for 4th of July weekend 05:09

As for this busy July 4 holiday, AAA Northeast spokesperson Robert Sinclair said, "Still, 3.55 million will fly, but as a percentage of those who are going to travel, that's the lowest it has been since 2011."

Despite gas prices remaining high, hovering around $5 per gallon in the Tri-State Area, AAA projects car travel this weekend will set new records.

"The Belt Parkway is going to be 146 percent more traveled than usual. Put that along with the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, the Long Island Expressway, they are all going to be particularly busy," Sinclair said.

Experts advise that wherever you go and whatever you do, plan ahead.

"I got there two hours, maybe a little more than two hours ahead of time. The line was pretty long. I waited 30-45 minutes in line. Other than that, it was good," said Stefania Mirlea, who was traveling from Dallas.

Because unlike in recent years, you'll have a lot more company.

According to AAA, the most popular travel destinations this weekend are Bermuda, the Bahamas, Alaska, and Orlando, Florida.

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