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Data shows that flight cancellations are now reaching pre-pandemic levels

Over 128,000 flights in the U.S. were canceled from January to July.

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More than 100,000 flights have been canceled in the United States so far this year, a significant increase compared to pre-pandemic, as airlines across the world deal with widespread issues.

In total, 128,934 flights were canceled in the U.S. from January to July, according to Reuters, citing data from flight tracker FlightAware. That’s an 11% increase compared to the same time period in 2019.

Almost one million flights have been delayed in addition to the cancellations so far this year.

Among the major U.S. airlines, American Airlines has cancelled the most flights (over 19,000) and Southwest Airlines has cancelled the second-most (over 17,000). With only around 10,000 cancelled flights, Delta Air Lines had the fewest of any major airline.

Widespread flight issues are becoming a near daily occurrence. As reported by FlightAware, more than 300 domestic and international flights were grounded on Sunday, with another 5,500 experiencing delays. Southwest was the airline with the most problems on Sunday, delaying over 1,500 flights (or 37% of its schedule).

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Staffing shortages and problems with air traffic control have been largely cited as the causes of the airline industry’s current predicament. Many flights were canceled at the beginning of the month, and then again in the following days.

JetBlue, Delta Air Lines, and United are just a few of the airlines that have taken preventative measures by reducing their summer schedules; other airlines, such as United and American Airlines, have even extended these reductions into the fall.

As part of its efforts to crack down on airlines, the Department of Transportation has proposed new regulations that would mandate refunds for domestic flights that are delayed by more than three hours.

But there is hope: the acting head of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said recently delays were starting to improve and airfare prices — which spiked due to higher fuel prices, overall high travel demand, and staffing shortages — have started to come down, decreasing 9.6% from June to July.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. She hopes to one day visit every country in the world, but when she’s not in New York City, she enjoys relaxing at the beach and traveling to new places. The Instagram feed is full of her travels.

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