Why are so many flights being cancelled? Here’s what you need to know about your summer air travel plans

For many travelers, flying the friendly skies has not been so friendly as of late due to the amount of delays and cancellations during this summer travel season.

Here’s what you need to know.

How many flights have been canceled since the beginning of the summer travel season?

Tens of thousands of flights have been canceled or delayed throughout the Juneteenth/Father’s Day weekend alone.

And experts say the problem is not likely to get better.

“We may not have seen the worst of this,” Kit Darby, founder of Kit Darby Aviation Consulting, told CBS MoneyWatch.

According to FlightAware, a flight-tracking website, there were 3,226 delays and 764 cancellations on flights within the US, and on flights arriving or departing the US, at the time of publication on Thursday alone.

Why are there so many flight delays and cancellations this travel season?

There are a number of reasons why this is happening.

One of the reasons has to do with ongoing shortages of pilots, flight crew and baggage handlers, in addition to the shortage of aircraft.

As the end of the month approaches, pilots also reach their threshold of the maximum amount of hours they are legally allowed to fly, according to CBS News.

Another factor adding fuel to the fire is the increase in bad weather, particularly the thunderstorms that have been taking place since Memorial Day weekend.

What should I do if my flight is canceled or delayed?

According to the US Department of Transportation (DOT), there is no federal law requiring airlines to give refunds or other forms of compensation when a flight is delayed or canceled.

But there are some things you may qualify for or be entitled to depending on your situation.

“If your flight is experiencing a long delay, ask airline staff if they will pay for meals or a hotel room. While some airlines offer these amenities to passengers, others do not provide any amenities to stranded passengers,” according to the DOT website.

“If your flight is canceled, and you choose to cancel your trip as a result, you are entitled to a refund for the unused transportation — even for non-refundable tickets. You are also entitled to a refund for any bag fee that you paid, and any extras you may have purchased, such as a seat assignment,” the agency’s website also notes.

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Katherine Rodriguez can be reached at krodriguez@njadvancemedia.com† Have a tip? tell us at nj.com/tips

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