By LAURIE KELLMAN, REBECCA SANTANA and DAVID KOENIG
WASHINGTON (AP) — A much-feared backup of U.S. passport applications has snarled post-pandemic summer plans for would-be travelers around the world. Somewhere around March, people who thought they were renewing or applying for new passports in plenty of time for their summer trips flooded what the State Department says is a system still short-staffed from cuts during the pandemic. Some 500,000 applications are submitted a week, setting the process up to issue more than the 22 million passports issued last year. That’s created a mini-nation of people with family dreams and big money at stake holding the phone, refreshing the screen, queuing up, spending more money and fuming online — before any of them set foot near an airport.