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Giving up? Delta issues travel waiver for July 4 weekend for all

June 29, 2022
3 min read
Giving up? Delta issues travel waiver for July 4 weekend for all
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As Americans take to the skies while celebrating the nation's birthday this weekend, Delta Air Lines has a message for passengers before boarding one of their red, white and blue planes: be patient.

The Atlanta-based carrier has taken the remarkable step of acknowledging that it expects "operational challenges" days before the Fourth of July holiday weekend starts and on Tuesday issued a travel waiver for flights between July 1 and July 4.

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"Delta people are working around the clock to rebuild Delta’s operation while making it as resilient as possible to minimize the ripple effect of disruptions," the airline said in a blog post. "Even so, some operational challenges are expected this holiday weekend. This unique waiver is being issued to give Delta customers greater flexibility to plan around busy travel times, weather forecasts and other variables without worrying about a potential cost to do so."

Delta's operation has struggled in recent weeks, particularly on weekends. Last weekend, the airline canceled hundreds of flights, by far the most of any U.S. carrier. The move underscores the broader problems the industry has had as a whole in ramping up operations since the depths of the pandemic.

This weekend, Delta expects to break pandemic-era passenger records. In the run-up to the holiday weekend, new pandemic-era records have been set at Transportation Security Administration checkpoints.

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"Delta is expected to carry customer volumes from Friday, July 1, through Monday, July 4, not seen since before the pandemic as people yearn to connect with the world," the airline said in the blog post. Delta is scheduled to operate about 11,000 flights between July 1 and July 4, according to Cirium schedule data. When Delta's regional airline partners are included, that number jumps to just over 17,000 flights.

More: Why do flight cancellations and delays keep happening?

While Delta has been facing the most operational difficulties, it is far from alone. Other airlines have canceled and delayed significant numbers of flights as a slew of factors converge to cause problems during a period of very high travel demand.

Airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration, which runs the nation's air traffic control system, have traded blame for the root cause of the problems. The airlines have accused the FAA of not properly staffing ATC facilities, while the FAA says the airlines are overscheduling flights relative to the staff — especially pilots — that are available.

"The majority of cancelations, and the majority of delays have nothing to do with air traffic control staffing," Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told "NBC Nightly News" on Tuesday. "But, when there is an issue, we're working that issue," a reference to an ATC facility in Florida that has faced staffing and other issues that airlines and the FAA held a meeting about in May.

More: Your flight is canceled or delayed – here’s what you should do next

If you're flying Delta — or any other airline — this weekend, it might be best to try and change to the first flight of the day, if possible, as those flights are the least likely to be delayed or canceled. Also, if you're traveling ahead of a cruise or an important gathering, try and leave some additional buffer between your flight and wherever you're headed.

Featured image by (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Why We Chose It

Sometimes it's worth a large investment to reap the benefits of a great credit card. That's exactly the case with the Amex Platinum card. In exchange for the annual fee, you'll unlock access to the Amex Membership Rewards program that let you access airline and hotel transfer partners, along with new lifestyle and travel credits. This card is also incredibly rewarding for travel purchases, helping you rack up a ton of Membership Rewards points for your next award trip.

Pros

  • The current welcome offer on this card is quite lucrative. TPG values it at $1,600.
  • This card comes with a long list of benefits, including access to Centurion Lounges, complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott, at least $500 in assorted annual statement credits and so much more. (Enrollment required for select benefits.)
  • The Amex Platinum comes with access to a premium concierge service that can help you with everything from booking hard-to-get reservations to finding destination guides to help you plan out your next getaway.

Cons

  • The high annual fee is only worth it if you’re taking full advantage of the card’s benefits. Seldom travelers may not get enough value to warrant the cost.
  • Outside of the current welcome bonus, you’re only earning higher rewards on specific airfare and hotel purchases, so it’s not a great card for other spending categories.
  • The annual airline fee statement credit can be complicated to take advantage of compared to the broader travel credits offered by competing premium cards.
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Ups are excluded.
  • American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. There are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
  • Get up to $300 back per calendar year on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card. Enrollment required. Learn more.
  • Breeze through security with CLEAR® lanes available at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your membership when you use your Card. Learn more.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees