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Busy Labor Day Travel Weekend Off To A Smooth Start Despite Storms



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The Federal Aviation Administration is predicting busy skies this Labor Day weekend, and travel was mostly smooth on Thursday despite impacts from Tropical Storm Idalia.
The FAA reported more than 316,000 flights were scheduled between Wednesday, Aug. 30 and Tuesday, Sept. 5, with a peak of 52,203 flights on Thursday, and 49,111 flights on Friday.
Some flights were delayed Thursday, due to lingering storms in the southeast after Tropical Storm Idalia, gusty winds in the northeast, and thunderstorm activity in western states, but there were relatively few cancellations.
The FAA said flight cancellations were trending lower in 2023, compared to the 2014–2023 monthly averages, excluding 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In June, the last month for which data were available, 2.1% of flights were canceled, compared to 3.1% of flights canceled in June 2022.
The agency is reminding people ahead of the busy travel weekend that it has “a zero-tolerance policy against unruly airline passengers in the wake of recent, troubling incidents.”
The agency said the number of incidents in which passengers have disrupted flights with “threatening or violent behavior” have rapidly grown in recent years, peaking at 5,973 incidents in 2021, up from 1,161 in 2019. In 2022, the agency said it received 2,455 unruly passenger reports, resulting in 567 enforcement actions and $8.4 million in fines.
Though the rate of incidents is steadily dropping from the 2021 peak, reports this year began ticking back up in July and August, the FAA said.
For travelers who plan to drive to their vacation destinations, auto club AAA reported the national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline on Friday was $3.82.
Washington State and California on Friday saw average gas prices over $5 per gallon, with the remaining western states and Illinois seeing prices over $4 per gallon.
TMX contributed to this article.