The demand to fly is at record levels and the airlines overall have a massive challenge trying to get their passengers to their destinations on time.
The good news at Miami International Airport over the weekend is that the passengers in Miami and in Fort Lauderdale have been fortunate and avoided the trouble.
“Pretty smooth. It's been like the crowds are a lot less than they usually are,” said one traveler, John, at MIA.
South Florida’s major airports are reporting they have lucky charms — just two flights were canceled at MIA on Sunday, and 180 were delayed. On Monday, Fort Lauderdale had four cancelations and 63 delays, and MIA saw 10 canceled flights and 95 delays.
“I didn’t have problems. I came from Pennsylvania down to Miami — no issues, no problems no delays. And now I’m on the way back to Pennsylvania and by the look of things everything looks smooth,” another passenger, Jonathan, said.
On Sunday, there were some delays at MIA — 180 flights weren’t on time, but 80% were. With no severe afternoon thunderstorms slowing things down, some passengers said any trouble they had was when they were trying to get to South Florida.
“On the way here we got a delay ... We went on a cruise and on the way here. Half of our family almost didn’t make it because of that, because of the situation with the lack of workers. On the way back, it's been smooth sailing for the fourth,” said another passenger, Jazz.
Overall, airlines across the U.S. are seeing heavy passenger loads while the airlines are trying to bring back many employees who were laid off when no one was flying during the pandemic.
Since Friday, 14,000 flights were canceled in the U.S. and 15,000 were delayed.
American Airlines, South Florida’s largest carrier, has been hiring 1,000 people since the spring. Airline watchdog groups say the carriers need to be more upfront about how long it's going to take for them to be able to meet the demand.
"It's a mess right now. There's no other way of saying it. I've never seen anything like this not in all these years," said William McGee, an American Economic Liberties Project Aviation and Travel Senior Fellow.
The head of the Transportation Security Administration says in about six weeks, things will get better.
"The first couple of weeks in August are gonna be very busy. Once you get into the middle part of August and then past Labor Day, things get a little bit more calm," said David Pekoske, the TSA administrator.
The Federal Aviation Administration has an extensive list of requirements that must be met for pilots and flight attendants, and all that training must be done before anyone can come out and start flying passengers around.
Finding slots for that training and the training itself takes time, so there’s a lag from the time when someone is back on the job and before they can actually do it.