President Trump has shown no inclination to order a domestic travel ban, but it’s looking increasingly likely that the U.S. airline industry will do it voluntarily. All the major domestic carriers are contemplating a complete shutdown of passenger service, according to The Street.
Whether or not you call it a shutdown, cancellations have skyrocketed over the past several weeks. Consider this: It’s not yet 9 a.m. on the east coast and already nearly 9,000 domestic flights have been cancelled, according to FlightStats, the flight tracking website and app. Delta Air Lines has cancelled over 1,600 flights today. American Airlines has chopped over 1,200. Add in another 1,000 cancelled Southwest Airlines flights and more than 900 from United Airlines. And those numbers will climb as the day gets underway.
For the flights that are still operating, it’s not uncommon to have only a handful of passengers.
Yesterday The Wall Street Journal reported that the major U.S. carriers, including American, Delta and United, are drafting internal plans for the possibility of a shutdown. Alaska Airlines is chopping 200 flights a day — roughly 15 percent of its normal schedule — through March. Southwest is cutting 1,000 flights per day between March 22 and April 14.
Flight cancellations began climbing in the U.S. earlier this month and have escalated since mid-March, after the Trump administration asked Americans to avoid non-essential travel and the U.S. issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory, the highest level.
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