Travelers struggle to navigate flight cancellations at Palm Beach International Airport

Lack of pilots, crews compound problems
Posted at 5:54 PM, Jun 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-17 20:33:21-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — For a second straight day, more than 1,000 flights were canceled across the U.S. Friday.

Airlines blamed Thursday's issues on bad weather, but they are also dealing with a major staffing shortage.

Walking through Palm Beach International Airport on Friday, WPTV found find plenty of disgruntled travelers.

RELATED: Canceled flights rise across US as summer travel heats up

As of Friday afternoon, 16 flights were canceled at Palm Beach Beach International Airport. Travelers were frustrated, waiting for hours.

According to FlightAware, almost 3,000 flights have been canceled nationwide in the last two days with more than 12,000 delays.

Bruce and Debra Gold's first flight to New York was canceled Friday morning. The next one was delayed.

Bruce Gold, PBIA traveler, June 17, 2022
Bruce Gold shares his frustrations after his flight to New York was canceled Friday.

"I was not a happy camper. I had to go for a walk cause I wasn't a very nice person," Bruce Gold said.

"Having people stranded at airports for hours or taking vacations and losing the time," Debra Gold said. "It's not fair. It's gotta stop."

With as many as 2.3 million passengers flying every day this summer, the figures are approaching 2019 levels.

Airlines are under pressure to avoid a Fourth of July repeat of Memorial Day when 2,700 flights were canceled nationwide.

Ronald Jackson arrived at PBIA after spending the night at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson airport.

Ronald Jackson, PBIA travel, June 17, 2022
Ronald Jackson explains some of the problems he had flying during the last two days.

"We looked at rental cars, trains," Jackson said. "I didn't think I was ever going to get out."

With fewer COVID-19 cases these days, Americans are traveling again. But the lack of pilots and crews is leading to delays and flight cancellations.

"We want a reliable operation. We want to get you from A to B, but we don't have the tools," Capt. Dennis Tajer said.

Tajer said these cancellations are a result of airline management overbooking without preparing.

"Management has got to live up to their obligation," Tajer said. "They sold those tickets, they collected the money and now we're supposed to fulfill that without the tools we need to get it done."

Laura Reece, Reece Worldwide Travel
Laura Reece offers advice for travelers to avoid headaches during this busy travel season.

To prepare for possible cancellations, travel agent Laura Reece said you should book your flight early in the day so if the flight does get canceled, you have a chance of getting another flight.

She said it's best to pay for travel insurance and if possible to pack a carry-on so your things are always with you.

"You have to really pack your patience," Reece said. "We're still coming out of COVID. We don't have enough staffing, so you do have to be patient."

Reece also recommends reaching out to your airline's representatives or tweeting at them to get a quicker response regarding flight updates.