Richmond Airport gearing up for hundreds of travelers for Fourth of July
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Across the country, millions of people are expected to take to the skies for Fourth of July travel, but already there have been reports of delayed, overbooked, or outright canceled flights.
Nearly 2,000 flights were canceled on Thursday worldwide, over 330 of which were flights within, into and out of the U.S. alone. A spokesperson with Richmond International Airport said the impact could only be felt minimally but was something they have been preparing for.
“For us, it’s max staffing, especially on the customer side of things like the building specialists, custodial, police, fire that’s who we staff,” said Troy Bell, a spokesperson for RIC. “Then the airlines is also max staff, TSA max staff - they know everyone is coming.”
Most delays and cancellations involve American Airlines or Delta flights, with a combined 174 canceled flights. Travelers like Cana Fass said they arrived four hours early to ensure their flight wasn’t canceled and booked two returning flights as their backup plan.
“It’s a just in case because we were flying out of the country last Fourth of July, and one of our flights got canceled,” said Fass. “Since it’s just me and my mom traveling, we’ve paid for two different flights, and they are both refundable.”
Richmond International Airport reported very low cancellation rates for holiday travel. However, back in June, their rate increased to 5% of canceled flights, and Bell said the number could be traced to a severe shortage of pilots.
“I don’t know of any airline that would say we are fully maxed out on pilots that we could ever want,” said Bell. “They have plenty of planes, plenty of other folks willing to work but no pilots.”
Experts like Bell are urging travelers to be prepared for any situation while getting ready to fly. Have a backup plan, keep in contact with your airline, and arrive at the airport with 90 minutes to spare.
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