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Air travelers hit with delays at airports nationwide

By Ashley Zilka

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    PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania (WTAE) — As the Fourth of July holiday approaches, millions of Americans are once again stranded at airports nationwide.

According to FlightAware, more than 20,000 flights have been delayed Wednesday and another 1,500 canceled.

The timing couldn’t be worse. The Federal Aviation Administration expects Thursday to be the busiest travel day over the July 4 holiday period.

Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 talked with travelers at Pittsburgh International Airport about the mess.

“I have flown multiple times this past year international. I will tell you what, I am done for a while because this is bad. This was really bad,” Dede Radkowski said.

Radkowski had troubles from the start.

“I was supposed to fly out last Friday. The flight was supposed to leave at 12 o’clock. We did not leave until 6 o’clock, and that was coming out of Pittsburgh, and we landed at JFK,” Radkowski said.

Then, this past weekend, Radkowski was with a large volunteer group when dozens of people got stuck at JFK trying to get back to their homes around the country.

“Multiple people were still stuck in New York City for two, three days. We were supposed to leave this morning and once again, due to a mechanical issue, we were delayed,” she said.

Now back home in Pittsburgh, Radkowski said she’s staying put for a while.

She’s not alone. Air travelers have been dealing with widespread delays all month.

Officials say on top of the forecast, huge crowds and the inability for some airline crews to reach their scheduling offices have all contributed to the mess.

“Our flight was supposed to take off at 9:30 this morning. I was at the airport since 8 o’clock, and around 9:20, we got a notification that our flight had been delayed. My ride has been waiting for a while already at the airport to pick me up, so it is frustrating on that side of things,” Chana Shishler said.

Fortunately, Pittsburgh International was only seeing a small number of cancellations and delays.

“Certainly, we are working with our airline partners, in contact with them as well as the FAA to monitor the situation. If you are flying to Canada or places in the Northeast, check with your airline before coming to the airport, but right now, again, we are not seeing much of an impact,” airport spokesperson Bob Kerlik said.

Officials stress planning ahead for the holiday weekend.

The TSA says for the past week, an average of 2.6 million people a day have been flying in the United States. That’s comparable to pre-pandemic numbers from 2019.

“I will be working, but I will pray for those people flying,” Radkowski said.

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