Wed. Sep 28th, 2022

Another day, another onslaught of flight disruptions for air travelers. Even before 9 a.m. Eastern Time, airports around the world were already tallying more than 10,000 flight delays and 1,700 cancellations, according to FlightAware tracking data. Those number could easily double by day’s end.

Nearly four in five travelers (79%) who have taken an overnight trip outside their local area this year have experienced at least one travel-related issue, according to a new Bankrate.com survey. These issues include high prices (57%), long waits (29%), poor customer service (27%), hard-to-find availability (26%), lost money due to cancelled or disrupted plans (14%) or something else (4%).

With the July Fourth holiday weekend now in the rearview mirror, Asia and Europe have emerged as hubs of air travel nightmares, with flight cancellations and delays surpassing the levels seen recently in the United States, demonstrating the global headwinds faced by the air travel industry.

At seven Chinese airports, more than one in five flights were cancelled today.

On Monday in Australia, 40% of flights operated by Virgin Australia and 35% by the Qantas-owned budget carrier Jetstar were delayed, as were 29% from Australian flag carrier Qantas.

London’s Heathrow Airport cancelled 60 flights Monday and apologized for rocky traveler experience. “Despite our best efforts there have been periods in recent weeks, where service levels have not been acceptable, with long queue times, delays for passengers with reduced mobility, bags not travelling with passengers or arriving late, and we want to apologize to any passengers who have been affected by this,” according to a statement.

Blaming “exponential growth in passenger numbers,” the airport is signaling the need to cut even more flights in weeks to come. “We will review the schedule changes that airlines have submitted in response to the government’s requirement to minimize disruption for passengers this summer and will ask them to take further action if necessary,” said Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye.

On Monday, 30% of flights out of London Gatwick Airport have been delayed, followed by airports in Split, Croatia (28%), Frankfurt (25%), Nice, France (23%) as well as Amsterdam Schipol (18%). More than a quarter (26%) of Air France flights have been delayed, in addition to 22% of Lufthansa flights and 21% of British Airways flights.

Last week, SAS — the flag carrier of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden — filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States, one day after a thousand of its pilots called for a strike.

One week later, the fallout continues. Today, the airline has axed 75% of its total flight volume, according to FlightAware. In Norway, these include 20% of flights departing Oslo Gardermoen Airport; 16% leaving Tromso Airport, and 12% of flights departing Stavanger and Trondheim airports.

By comparison, operations at North America’s airlines and airports look downright sunny on Monday morning, with the exception of Air Canada, where 18% of flights are delayed.

Then again, the day is young.

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