Dozens of flights at Boston’s Logan International Airport were canceled Saturday and more were delayed, as airlines and passengers grappled with staffing shortages and bad weather that have impacted air travel across the country.
Fifty-three flights had been canceled and 95 delayed by 12:30 p.m., according to Flightaware.com. The travel site reported 125 cancellations at Logan Friday, and more than 550 delayed flights.
The service interruptions followed delays for hundreds of flights at Logan Thursday night, after the Federal Aviation Administration ordered a ground stop at the airport due to stormy weather along the East Coast.
Flights were delayed at Logan by an average about two hours during Thursday’s ground stop, according to the federal agency.
The airport posted a brief statement Friday on social media and its website, advising people to check with their airline on the status of their flight before coming to the airport due to the recent delays and cancellations.
The delayed and canceled flights came after US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg privately met with airline leaders Thursday to discuss their plans to ensure smooth travel for the July 4 holiday and the rest of the summer.
He also called on them to improve accommodations for passengers when flights are canceled, the Associated Press reported, and examine whether airlines can handle the schedules they have published.
“I let them know that this is a moment when we are really counting on them to deliver reliably for the traveling public,” Buttigieg said in an interview with NBC News.
According to the Transportation Security Administration, an average of more than 2.2 million travelers per day have passed through airport checkpoints so far this month. That figure is up by about 400,000 from the same period last year, but remains below travel numbers reported before the pandemic.
Air travel is only expected to get busier this summer, after President Biden lifted a requirement earlier this month that international travelers take COVID-19 tests before boarding flights.
Airlines have blamed bad weather this summer for the delays. Pilot unions for Delta, America, and Southwest have said airlines moved too slowly to replace pilots who retired or took leaves of absences early in the pandemic, according to the Associated Press.
US Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts praised Buttigieg Friday for meeting with the airlines and said both he and Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut have serious concerns about the increase in flight cancellations.
“Passengers shouldn’t be penalized for the airlines’ mismanagement and poor planning,” Markey said in a Twitter post Friday.
Markey and Blumenthal have criticized airlines’ handling of the nation’s air travel woes after many flights were canceled or delayed in recent months, including over Memorial Day weekend.
In a joint statement earlier this month, Markey and Blumenthal called on airlines to mitigate future delays and cancellations, and take steps such as issuing earlier notifications to passengers in cases of expected inclement weather.
While some of these factors are outside of airlines’ control, the senators said, those air travel issues “pose significant hardships to the travelling public, and we are disappointed that these delays and cancellations are occurring so frequently that they are becoming an almost-expected part of travel,” the statement said.
John Hilliard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.