Delta Airlines Expects Memorial Day Travel to Beat Pre-Pandemic Levels

  • Delta Airlines is expecting a daily average of 560,000 passengers across the Memorial Day period.
  • That’s 17% more than last year. It also exceeds the last pre-pandemic Memorial Day in 2019.
  • Southwest Airlines told Insider it’s 5,700 new employees to avoid a repeat of last year’s summer travel chaos.

Delta Airlines is expecting to fly nearly 2.8 million people – an average of 560,000 passengers a day – over the Memorial Day weekend, overtaking its recorded travel volumes in 2019. It’s also a 17% increase versus last year. 

Luggage handlers will see an extra workload too. Delta said it expects to transport two million bags from Thursday through Monday.

And LAX is predicting Thursday to be its busiest day since March 2020, opening an additional waiting lot for pickups.

The federal holiday kicks off the summer travel period, which last year saw airlines struggle to deal with chaos as demand recovered from the pandemic. 

Delta says it will have its busiest schedule for flights across the Atlantic this summer too, with three-quarters of tickets already sold.

The Federal Aviation Administration has eased requirements for takeoff and landing spaces at New York City’s three airports and Reagan Washington National to try to avoid a repeat of last year’s struggles.

It’s encouraging major airlines to schedule fewer flights but use bigger planes so they can still accommodate more passengers.

Other major US airlines are also prepping for rising demand. 

A spokesperson for Southwest Airlines told Insider that the company has hired 5,700 new workers in anticipation of a busy travel season. It will offer 7% more flights with 15% more staff versus last year. 

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