Flight delays abound as Labor Day weekend traffic picks up

September 2, 2021, 3:09 PM UTC

If you’re planning on getting out of town this Labor Day weekend, be prepared to spend some extra time at the airport.

Wednesday’s severe flooding in the New York area has caused substantial delays at Newark International Airport. Meanwhile, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport is still operating at a minimal capacity after Hurricane Ida blew through earlier this week.

Data from FlightAware shows 38% of outgoing flights from Newark have been cancelled as of Thursday morning, while 80% of flights originating out of New Orleans have been cancelled.

New York City’s JFK and LaGuardia airports are in better shape, with 9% of LaGuardia’s outbound flights cancelled and only 3% at JFK, though both are reporting delays.

Newark is a primary hub for United Airlines, which could impact flights in other cities as the availability of planes and crew becomes stretched. New Orleans is a popular stop for Southwest Airlines, which last week announced it had reduced its fall flight schedule due to a staffing shortage.

Some 3.24 inches of rain fell between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. at Newark Airport, according to the National Weather Service—and the area received more than eight inches of rain in total on Wednesday. That led to flooding in the baggage area as well in the terminal.

The travel issues come just ahead of Labor Day, which is expected to be a fairly busy travel weekend. Flight app Hopper predicts today, Sept. 2, will be the busiest departure day for many travelers. And TripIt shows total bookings for Labor Day are working their way back to 2019 levels.

AAA does not provide a travel forecast for Labor Day weekend, saying it has become unpredictable in recent years.

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