Flight cancelations leave passengers anxious as holiday travel surge continues
According to the TSA, the day after Christmas is expected to be one of the busier days for airports during the two-week year's end holiday surge.
"I think this morning we'll be well over 5,500 passengers and for the day, I think we'll be over 11,000," explained Mark Lendvay, Federal Security Director for TSA in Wisconsin. "TSA's averaging about 2.5 million passengers a day. I'm guessing that we're going to be well over 25 million during the two week period which is pretty significant.
As the travel rush continues, some passenger's travel plans have been thrown into a loop with thousands of flights in the United States being canceled over the course of the holiday weekend. According to flightaware.com, 996 U.S. flights were canceled on Christmas day with over 700 canceled Sunday. It's anticipated that the cancelations could continue with airlines struggling with COVID-19 infections.
Delta canceled over 400 flights over the course of the weekend according to flightaware.com, the company citing a rise in COVID-19 cases and weather. United canceled over 300 flights and American has canceled over 150.
Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport saw just over a handful of flights canceled over the holiday weekend, but the other cancelations throughout the country has left passengers nervous that their flights could experience a similar fate.
"It's definitely a concern," explained Elizabeth Dunham, who's traveling to Los Angeles with her family. "It definitely adds to a little bit of anxiety. What else do you do besides put on a good mask and hope for the best, right?"
While passengers may be concerned with the virus grounding their flights, they're not as concerned about catching it once the plane is in the air.
"We feel pretty confident," said Michelle Palmer, who's travelling with her family to Sarasota, Florida. "We're vaccinated and so, we feel pretty good with the boys and their masks and we're just ready to enjoy our time."
Lendvay says the state as a whole has not experienced a lot of problems with compliance regarding the mask mandate on planes, something the TSA has now extended until March 18, 2022.
"I think from a sensitivity standpoint with the traveling public, I think the public gets it. They understand, look, you got to be masked," Lendvay said. "It's not the greatest thing, we know that. We're already going in almost two years of doing this."
Lendvay says that along with the masks, it's important that people pack their patience and stay up to date with their flights as cancelations and delays continue across the nation.
"Do ensure that you're online with the airline you're traveling on," Lendvay suggested. "Check it periodically, especially the night before, the morning of and just be mindful that a lot of people are traveling."