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U.S. Urges Travelers To Prepare For Flight Delay Fiasco This Summer

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Summer travel plans can get crazy quickly. Picking the right hotel, comparing flight prices, and wrangling your family and friends to leave on time can make you question, “is it all worth it?”.

Once we get to our destination, the answer is almost always a resounding “yes!”. But if there is a foolproof way to bring down the mood, it's flight delays and cancellations.

female traveler at flight board

Trip disruptions can make you go from being absolutely thrilled about a summer vacation to pure existential dread staring at the flight board.

Tourism records are breaking across the world as the Summer season begins, and there are no signs of slowing down.

The only thing stopping travelers from going anywhere would be if something were to go wrong. According to a recent announcement from a prominent U.S. official, that, unfortunately, may be the case.

Busy Summer Season

crowded airport check-in line

Summer is always a super chaotic time to travel for multiple reasons. Kids are out of school, the weather is warm, and there are now 4 federal holidays from the end of May to the first week of September.

It's the perfect time for an escape, and everyone relates to that. Whether it's taking a dream vacation to some of Mexico's most luxurious resorts or finding time for some solitude to recharge, Summer is the season of travel.

That's why if you have plans to fly this summer, you need to be aware of the recent warning from former Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg.

Now the Transportation Secretary, Buttigieg is urging Americans to prepare for chaos this summer.

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frustrated traveler at airport

“There's a real risk of delays or cancellations. This represents one of the biggest—probably the biggest—foreseeable problem affecting performance this summer.”

Transportation Secretary, Pete Buttigieg per the Wall Street Journal

Due to the nonstop influx of travelers at airports, it can already be a hassle even without a major disruption.

Maybe you have to show up at the airport 2 to 3 hours early just to pass through security. However, Buttigieg's warning does not have much to do with the already chaotic nature of summer travel.

There are already going to be annoyances and frustrations. The main reason for the expected additional delays is the implementation of new technology.

travelers sleeping at airport

How 5G Is Expected To Impact Summer Travel

Telecom companies are boosting cellular capabilities with 5G connections. You might be thinking, “I have to keep my phone in Airplane Mode on the flight, so how would this possibly affect me?”.

This does not have anything to do with your phone being turned on or off. It has everything to do with planes' communication systems possibly being affected.

Safety is always the top priority on planes. The fear is if airlines do not meet the July 1st deadline to outfit aircraft properly, a nationwide flight delay frenzy could happen.

two pilots in cockpit

Last month, President Biden refused to move the goalposts back to a further date, so it looks like July 1st is set in stone.

Updating the planes is highly important. Planes are equipped with altimeters, which determine how high or low the craft is above ground.

If these high-tech radar systems falter, pilots will have trouble controlling the plane. Pretty big deal, right?

Which Airlines Are Ready?

delta plane on runway in st. kitts

While Buttigieg did not go through every single airline, he did point out some statistics. As of this week, he claimed approximately 20 percent of domestic flights are not ready for 5G, as well as roughly 35 percent of international flights.

It was reported Delta is struggling with supply chain issues causing nearly 200 planes to most likely miss the deadline. Although, a Delta spokesperson claimed “minimal” impact is expected.

For JetBlue, it is estimated 17 aircraft will not be properly equipped until later this Fall. It is not known how other airlines will handle the tight deadline.

JetBlue plane in Newark nj

If Buttigieg is warning travelers this week, it should definitely be a concern for travelers jetting off this summer.

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