In this week’s developments, the U.S. problem with flight cancellations and delays continues and spreads to Europe; the Justice Department goes to court to protect the government’s authority to impose mask mandates; the list of international routes keeps growing as peak season arrives; JetBlue’s Boston-London service delayed; Southwest begins new San Jose, Sacramento routes; JSX fliers can now earn miles on United; Japan starts to open up to tourists; Italy drops COVID-19 entry requirements; airlines, travel industry reps visit the White House to urge an end to pre-departure testing for inbound travelers; KLM adds premium economy seating; Delta cuts the ribbon on new LaGuardia terminal; two passenger lounges open at Ontario Airport.
The U.S. airline industry got another test of its ability to handle burgeoning passenger numbers over Memorial Day weekend, and it did not do well, as carriers canceled 2,800 departures from Thursday through Monday, leaving thousands of travelers stymied in their hopes of enjoying a brief holiday getaway. This time, the worst problems were at Delta, with more than 800 flights scrapped. And the U.S. isn’t alone in its air travel problems, as the same scenario has been playing out at several European airports in recent days.
It’s not just holiday weekends. On Thursday, June 2, almost 1,400 U.S. flights were canceled, mostly by American, United and Southwest. The ongoing problems led U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Edward Markey, D-Mass., to send a letter this week to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, asking him to spell out “the steps DOT is taking in response to this past weekend’s cancellations, both to reduce the likelihood of sweeping delays and cancellations from reoccurring and to ensure impacted consumers receive full compensation, including refunds.” The senators said they are “disappointed that these delays and cancellations are occurring so frequently that they are becoming an almost-expected part of travel.”