Flight Cancellations in 2022 Are Worse Than They Were Pre-Pandemic

A new study shows that more than 124,000 flights have been canceled between January and July.

Editor's Note: We know COVID-19 is continuing to impact your travel plans. Should you travel now, be sure to familiarize yourself with the CDC's latest guidance on domestic and international travel as well as local requirements, protocols, and restrictions for both your destination upon your arrival and your home city upon your return. Be safe out there.

If you've been flying this year, you've probably had a flight canceled or at least seriously delayed. In the past week, American Airlines has announced the cancellation of thousands of flights, and other airlines have made similar cancellations throughout the summer. According to Reuters, between January and July 2022, 128,934 flights were canceled.

That's about 11% higher than pre-pandemic levels, reaffirming the pandemic's impact on the airline industry. There have also been nearly a million delays this year. American Airlines canceled the most flights this year, with a record 19,717 flights. Southwest Airlines canceled 17,381 flights, and Delta Airlines canceled about 10,000 flights.

Still, the number of flights canceled in 2022 pales in comparison to the number of flights canceled in 2020 when the pandemic first began. In 2020, 286,811 flights were canceled. The issues in 2022 stem from staffing shortages in airports, airlines, and air traffic control.

Fortunately, the cancellations defining the airline industry in 2022 are anticipated to let up in 2023. Airline executives estimated that traveling will return to normal by summer 2023. An expert speaking to Reuters gave a similar assessment.

"With increased capacity, higher fares, and lessened demand, the traveling public can expect more on-time flights and fewer cancellations in the fall, at least until the holidays," Ken Quinn, a partner at law firm Clyde & Co US LLP, told Reuters.

Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat.

Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.