Staffing, capacity issues could also delay your holiday travel this year

‘Get there early and plan for the possibility of delays,’ expert says

Travelers began dashing to their holiday destinations Monday with just five days to go until Christmas.

FOX Weather multimedia journalist Will Nunley said there were long lines at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey on Monday morning, but those lines began shrinking about lunchtime.

The Transportation Security Administration reported average screening times at many of the nation’s largest airports early Monday afternoon. Flyers can track those screening times by downloading the MyTSA app on their mobile device.

FOX Weather is tracking a couple of big systems moving across the country this week that could cause some headaches for holiday travelers. One is a rain maker in the Southeast and the other is a large storm that will bring rain and snow to much of the West.

However, the weather may not be the only thing that could slow your travel.

"Sometimes, it goes beyond the weather," said meteorologist and aviation expert J.P. Dice. "It goes into not only staffing but air traffic control capacity."

Dice said that the number of travelers has been steadily climbing since pandemic lows, but airline staffing has had a hard time keeping up with that pace. That led to some problems for flyers earlier this year.


Another issue is the capacity of the air-traffic control system, according to Dice.

"Sometimes, those delays are because perhaps one of the air-traffic control centers are at capacity and they can’t accept other airplanes at that point in time," Dice said.

Dice said the best advice he can give to travelers during the holiday season is to expect delays and plan accordingly.

"It’s the same as always," Dice said. "You get there early and plan for the possibility of delays."