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Flight delays expected to increase this summer

Keith Alexander at the Washington Post writes about something I’m sure we’ve all noticed recently: flight delays are on the rise. Alexander, though, actually gives us some numbers to back it up. More than 431,800 flights were delayed in April, the most in more than a decade.

The reason for this—and why we can expect things to get worse this summer—also comes down to the numbers. More than 200 million people are expected to fly this summer, and the airlines have fewer planes and fewer flights to carry them. The domestic airline fleet is about 20 percent smaller than it was just six years ago, before bankruptcies battered the industry. The decreased number of flights, down 2.3 percent from last summer, means there just isn’t enough room for everybody.

Thus, outright cancellations are down (the airlines can’t afford them), and lengthy delays are on the rise. In other words? Pack an extra-thick book before you head to the airport this summer. You may be there longer than you like.

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