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Labor shortage leading to travel frustration ahead of July 4th

Posted at 6:42 AM, Jul 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-02 06:45:15-04

FORT MYERS, Fla — AAA is forecasting that 3.5 million people will fly this Fourth of July holiday weekend. However, the travel industry is not quite ready for this pent-up, post-quarantine demand.

You're going to want to pack your patience if you're scheduled to fly. In a matter of days, airlines have canceled hundreds of flights.

American Airlines and Southwest Airlines are among those seeing the most shortages and cancellations so far.

Despite understaffing, travel experts say the industry has also added more than 170 new routes in the U.S. in the last three months, which is making it even harder for them to maintain.

Labor and other shortages are now causing frustration for the millions of travelers trying to get to where they're going in time for the Fourth.

“The pilot comes on the line and says 'this is the first time in 30 years I've been told there's not fuel," said Joe Boles who is traveling to North Carolina.

"The recovery of air travel has happened so fast airlines are scrambling to get as many flights in the air without the labor force often to, to back that up. You throw in some storms and those back up crews aren't there,” explained DePaul University Professor Joe Schwieterman.

In addition to all of this, travelers are also seeing high ticket prices. Experts say the spike in leisure travel as everything re-opens is fueling those rising costs.

So far at Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) Friday morning, there has only been one departing flight canceled for American Airlines.

If you're flying today, airlines recommend activating their travel alerts on your phone.

You can track updates to all RSW arrivals and departures here.