BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — The Fourth of July getaway weekend is jamming U.S. airports with their most significant crowds because the pandemic started in 2020.

About 2.49 million passengers went by way of protection checkpoints at U.S. airports Friday, surpassing the former pandemic-period document of 2.46 million attained before in the week, according to figures launched Saturday by the Transportation Stability Administration.

The escalating quantities clearly show leisure tourists are not staying deterred from flying by growing fares, the ongoing unfold of COVID-19 or anxieties about recurring flight delays and cancellations.

Friday’s passenger quantity marked a 13% raise from July 1 previous calendar year, which fell on the Thursday in advance of Fourth of July. This year’s quantity of travellers likely by U.S. airports also eclipsed the 2.35 million screened at safety checkpoints on the Friday just before the Fourth of July in 2019, but that was virtually a week ahead of Independence Working day.

In a more telling sign of how near U.S. air travel is reverting again to pre-pandemic conditions, an normal of 2.33 million travellers have passed by safety checkpoints at domestic airports through the 7 days ending July 1. That was shut to the 7-working day average of approximately 2.38 million travellers during the same 2019 time period, according to the TSA.

But airlines have struggled to keep up with the surging demand from customers amid staffing shortages and an assortment of other problems that have resulted in recurring waves of exasperating flight delays and cancellations that have been transforming some holidays into nightmarish ordeals.

Numerous airlines, such as Delta, Southwest and JetBlue, have responded to the obstacle by curtailing their summer season schedules in an effort and hard work to decrease the inconveniences — and backlash — brought about by flight delays and cancellations They are making use of greater planes on typical to carry additional passengers although they scramble to hire and coach more pilots.

The problems ongoing Friday, despite the fact that they weren’t as bad as they have been at other instances in recent months. There were extra than 6,800 flight delays and a further 587 flight cancellations impacting U.S. airports Friday, according to the monitoring web-site FlightAware.

The trouble spilled into Saturday, also, with thunderstorms complicating points on the East Coast and parts of the Midwest. By late Saturday, virtually 4,000 flights experienced been delayed and much more than 600 experienced been canceled at U.S. airports, according to FlightAware.

Apart from the flight delays and cancellations, vacationers also have had to pay out larger selling prices for tickets driven up by soaring gas expenditures and other inflationary components, as perfectly as navigate all-around the health and fitness pitfalls posed by continuing COVID-19 bacterial infections.

The travel bug is also congesting highways, even with the national typical price tag for gasoline hovering all-around $5 for each gallon — and previously mentioned $6 for each gallon in California and all its popular tourist sights. AAA predicts that nearly 48 million individuals will journey at least 50 miles or far more from property above the weekend, a little less than in 2019.

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