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

Jun 29, 2022

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

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.

Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter.

“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.

“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 photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.

Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card

Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy Bonus Points after spending $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 8/31/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at a participating hotel. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.99% - 26.99% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.