OAKLAND, Calif. - We may be looking at a rough rest of the flying week beginning Wednesday through Sunday as millions try to get back home.
Tomorrow will be a light day, with momentum building until Sunday, July 9.
"More and more, holidays have become "holi-weeks," said consumer advocate Paul Hudson, president of the non-profit FlyersRights.org.
He is also a public advocate member of the FAA's Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee.
U.S. taxpayers gave the airlines $54 billion not to lay people off and be ready to return quickly.
Instead, the airlines offered buyouts and early retirements to accomplish the same thing.
"Some of it they spent on executive compensation; got a lot of bonuses there," said Hudson.
Hudson also says, airlines, to one degree or another, now blame their meltdowns on a lack of staff, obsolete computers, not enough aircraft and way too much passenger demand; much of that of their own making.
"When travel came back, the airlines were understaffed. They were undertrained," said Peter Greenberg, a travel journalist, author and the dean of the nation's travel experts. "The problems that were under control that they could fix, they didn't fix," said Greenberg.
More blame was pointed at there being too few air traffic controllers, a pre-pandemic reality, and weather.
"The industry itself is projecting three to five years to normalize things," said Hudson.
So what does that harken for the future?
"As long as they don't fix those problems, it's not only gonna be a long, hot summer, it's gonna be a long for rest of the year," said Greenberg. "You cannot, under the current situation, probably until next year or so at least, that you're going to get to your destination in any timely way," said Hudson.
One protection, buy a fully refundable backup ticket. If your first flight gets canceled, they must refund you. Your second ticket gives you another chance and is refundable as well.