More than 860 US flights canceled as thunderstorms close in on the East Coast

It’s shaping up to be another rough day for America’s airline passengers. 

By 11 a.m. Eastern on Friday, more than 860 flights had already been canceled in the U.S., with nearly 2,100 more delayed, according to FlightAware. Some of Friday’s issues could be a result of aircrafts not being in a position to fly their first flights of the morning after cancelations Thursday night. 

American Airlines has the most cancelations so far, with almost 190 flights cut, representing 5% of the carrier’s schedule for the day.

The Federal Aviation Administration predicted that thunderstorms could cause further air traffic restrictions from New York to Florida by this afternoon.

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Summer squeeze for aviation network

Across the board, it’s been a frustrating summer for passengers as airlines trim schedules and airports but in the U.S. and abroad struggle to cope with surging demand for travel.

Earlier in the pandemic, airlines downsized as people stayed home. But with restrictions lifted, folks this summer are traveling like it’s 2019 again, and carriers say they don’t have enough people on their rosters to fly the schedules they planned. 

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That’s led to many airlines: American, United, Delta and JetBlue among them, to announce cuts and even end service to some smaller cities.

Experts say it could take as much as a year for things to normalize.

Travelers line up to check in for United Airlines flights at Newark Liberty International Airport on July 1, 2022.

What you’re entitled to if your flight is canceled

If your flight is canceled and you choose not to travel on a new itinerary, the Department of Transportation requires your airline to give you a refund, even if you purchased a nonrefundable ticket. 

In the event of a delay, the rules are a little fuzzier. The DOT says that passengers are entitled to compensation if a “significant” delay occurs, but the department has not yet defined what qualifies as significant.

Airline compensation:What you’re entitled to if your flight is canceled or delayed

That ultimately means, for now, it’s up to individual airlines to decide how and when to compensate passengers whose flights are delayed.

The DOT announced earlier this week that they are planning to clarify those rules, and make them more consumer friendly. On Wednesday, the agency opened a portal for public comments on updates to their cancellation and delay compensation regulations. 

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