Why are so many flights being cancelled? Here’s what you need to know about your air travel plans this summer

For many travelers, flying the friendly skies hasn’t been so friendly lately due to the number of delays and cancellations during this summer season.

Here’s what you need to know.

How many flights have been canceled since the start of the summer travel season?

Tens of thousands of flights have been canceled or delayed throughout the weekend of June 16/Father’s Day only.

And experts say the problem is unlikely to improve.

“We may not have seen the worst,” said Kit Darby, founder of Kit Darby Aviation Consulting, told CBS MoneyWatch.

According to FlightAwarea flight tracking website, there were 3,226 delays and 764 cancellations on flights within the United States and on flights to or from the United States, as of press time Thursday alone.

Why are there so many flight delays and cancellations this travel season?

There are a number of reasons why this happens.

One of the reasons has to do with the continued shortage of pilots, flight crew and baggage handlers, in addition to the shortage of aircraft.

As the end of the month approaches, pilots are also reaching their threshold for the maximum number of hours they are legally allowed to fly, according to CBS News.

Another factor adding fuel to the fire is the increase in severe weather, particularly the thunderstorms that have occurred since Memorial Day weekend.

What should I do if my flight is canceled or delayed?

According to the US Department of Transportation (DOT)no federal law requires airlines to make refunds or other forms of compensation when a flight is delayed or canceled.

But there are some things you may qualify for or be entitled to depending on your situation.

“If your flight is experiencing a long delay, ask the airline staff if they will pay for meals or a hotel room. While some airlines provide these amenities to passengers, others do not provide any amenities to stranded passengers. », according to the DOT website.

“If your flight is canceled and you choose to cancel your trip as a result, you are entitled to a refund for unused transportation, even for non-refundable tickets. You are also entitled to a refund for any baggage fees you paid for and any extras you may have purchased, such as a seat assignment,” the agency’s website also notes.

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