Thousands of people across the country have stories to tell after facing a weekend of flight delays and cancellations.
And some in the airline industry worry these problems will continue as the summer season gets underway.
Channel 2 Washington News Bureau reporter Blair Miller was at Reagan National Airport and spoke with both pilots and passengers.
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Passenger Deandre Jones was weary and frustrated after a weekend of traveling home to Memphis from Toronto.
“The Toronto flight got delayed by an hour, which caused us to miss our Memphis flight,” said Jones.
They were told they wouldn’t be able to get home until Tuesday. Instead, Jones flew to Nashville and tried to rent a car or take a bus. With no other alternatives, they ended up paying a $450 Lyft fare to get home Wednesday morning.
“It’s probably one of the most difficult experiences, and I felt almost on my own,” said Jones.
The increase in delays and cancellations comes just days after Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg met with airline CEOs.
They discussed ways to improve performance and operations ahead of another expected surge in travel.
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Dennis Tajer, a pilot for American Airlines and member of the Allied Pilots Association says passengers should expect more of these problems in the coming weeks. He says this is the worst he’s ever seen.
“(Airlines are) expecting us to go beyond levels of exhaustion to get it done. Well, that doesn’t work that way in this business. We’re not making pizzas. We’re flying people on airplanes at near the speed of sound,” said Tajer.
When will it get better? Pilots told Miller not until the airlines decide to make changes, which could be the end of the summer.
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