The good news is that we get to celebrate Independence Day on July 4th. But the bad news is that our travel system is in utter chaos — and inflation has sent the prices of our favorite cookout items through the roof. I described my own family’s hellish travel nightmare in June, but apparently, the problem has only worsened since then.
The roads should be jammed as well, with 48 million people expected to brave high fuel costs to hit the highways this weekend. It’s all going to be more expensive than last year, as average gas prices have soared 56 percent, mid-range hotel prices are up 23 percent, and average lowest airfares are up 14 percent.
I’m going to need a bigger wallet.
As of noon Friday, more than 317 flights were canceled and 2,894 delayed—well above the daily average. Expect the disruptions to increase through the weekend. Delta CEO Ed Bastian apologized Friday for the more than 400 Delta flights that were already scrubbed this week:
“If you’ve encountered delays and cancellations recently, I apologize,” Bastian wrote in a letter posted to his LinkedIn page. “We’ve spent years establishing Delta Air Lines as the industry leader in reliability, and though the majority of our flights continue to operate on time, this level of disruption and uncertainty is unacceptable.”
This comes after thousands of flights were canceled over Father’s Day weekend, stranding customers in faraway airports with no way to get to their destination. The problems stem from staffing shortages brought on by retirements and layoffs during the height of the pandemic when few people were traveling. Add to that ongoing labor strikes and the airlines’ seeming inability to plan adequately for what was obviously going to be a huge travel season and you get the chaos we see now. Time writes:
Across Europe and the United States, what was supposed to be the summer of travel’s joyful return has instead become a season of chaos. Soul-killingly long lines at check-in and security; hundreds of flights canceled every week because airlines can’t staff them; luggage that doesn’t show up for days.
Should you arrive at your destination and plan for a barbeque, prepare for an eye-opening trip to the grocery store. The average BBQ is expected to cost you 17 percent more than it did last year. (Different news outfits are reporting slightly different percentages, but the fact remains the same: food is a lot more expensive.)
There are many reasons why prices have shot up, including supply chain issues, shortages, and others, but they all point back to the same culprit—Biden’s inflation. Things cost more for the farmers, especially fuel, so they raise their prices, the truck drivers are paying more for gas so they raise their prices, then the grocery stores have to charge more… You get the idea.
None of this news is great, but I say channel the American spirit and party on anyway. To hell with the bad news, let’s gather with our families and defy the idiots who say we shouldn’t celebrate Independence Day. This too shall pass, and one day we will have a new administration in power and we’ll look back on these times as an anomaly. Let’s honor this great country and be thankful we get to live here.
That is, if we ever make it to the barbecue.