FORT WORTH, TEXASA record-breaking 2.2 million people flew over this Fourth of July weekend. That’s not only the most of any weekend since the start of the pandemic, but some 12,000 more than the same weekend in 2019. The crush of travelers was so intense, both on the roads and in the skies, that it led to skyrocketing fuel prices, rental car shortages, and widespread flight disruptions.

For the second weekend in a row, those disruptions hit Southwest and American Airlines hard. On Friday, Southwest — an unusually beloved airline — had more canceled flights than any other airline in the world except Air China, according to the flight tracking site Flight Aware.

Southwest canceled 194 flights, or 5% of its schedule, on Friday and delayed an additional 1,400 flights or a whopping 39% of its total flights. American Airlines was just behind Southwest, with 180 cancelations and 1,212 delays.

Things improved somewhat by Saturday evening, with Southwest canceling 73 flights and delaying 1,171, or 35% of its total flights. American had 63 cancellations and 736 delays. Among the five largest U.S. domestic airlines, these two have been especially challenged in the late-pandemic travel era. The other three – Delta, United, and Alaska Airlines – have fared considerably better.

On Saturday night, when the worst of the holiday weekend rush seemed to be abating, a “minor” water leak at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport led to several hundred additional flights being delayed or diverted in and out of that airport, according to NBC News.
Via SF Gate