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Flying is a tough thing to discuss. On the one hand, the fact that we have airplanes at all is pretty amazing. These crazy machines move millions of people daily, many hundreds of miles per hour, tens of thousands of feet above the ground. The success rate of commercial flights is insane. On the other hand, no other industry in the world provides such a frustratingly poor service as flying does. These days we see record flight cancelations, adding to the normal pains of flying. Why are so many flights getting canceled? And, Which airports are the worst to travel through. 

An 'Airplane Boneyard' facility located next to the Southern California Logistic Airport in Victorville
An ‘Airplane Boneyard’ facility | MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images

Why are so many flights getting canceled? 

Summertime is when Americans travel. Gas, plane ticket, and car rental prices all climb during the summer to capitalize on the increase in travel demand. However, as with everything else in this weird-ass timeline, gas prices are at record highs, rental car fleets are a mess, and flying has become a total crap shoot. Nothing is normal. The further we get from 2020, the more it seems everything is getting trapped in its wake of sludge. 

The flight delays and cancelations are compounding from a myriad of issues. According to The Drive, American travel has resumed following the apparent collective decision that COIVD is done. 

Despite the influx of business, the airlines are struggling to keep enough staff to deal with the business. Pilot shortages are being caused by a combination of retirements, illness, and difficulty rehiring after historic COVID-era layoffs. As a result, airlines are delaying and canceling thousands of flights. In some extreme cases, airlines are even canceling routes altogether, cutting off some towns and cities from major flight services. 

The remaining pilots and other airline staff are getting worked into the ground, increasing the retirement and resignation numbers. 

It’s gotten so bad that pilots are fighting back

The Drive reports that Southwest has “employees picketing at Dallas Love Field and the Delta Pilots’ Union issuing a letter of no-confidence in the company. Both unions have noted that reports of pilot fatigue are reaching all-time highs, and the Delta pilots’ letter specifically notes that their aviators are on track to fly more overtime hours in 2022 than they did in 2018 and 2019 combined.” 

Which airports are the hardest to fly through right now? 

Unfortunately, this flight cancelation issue stretches across the country. However, a few airports are getting hit harder than others. The top three worst airports to fly through right now are Chicago (MDW), Newark (EWR), and Orlando (MCO). These three won this bummer honor by having, on average, 30 percent of flights delayed by more than 15 minutes. 

In just the past weekend, 5,000 flights around the country were canceled, and it’s not getting better. As the summer wears on, the rising fuel cost and airline staff’s increased fatigue will only continue to grow. 

These are strange times, indeed. No one knows when the effects of COVID and the lockdowns will stop. If the last year has shown us anything, it sure seems to suggest that these issues might stick with us for a little while.