TSA screens record number of passengers despite increasing delays, cancellations

CHARLOTTE — Plenty of families are still dealing with flight delays and cancellations at airports across the country, including right here in Charlotte.

On Friday morning, Channel 9′s Anthony Kustura reported 73 flights at Charlotte Douglas were canceled over a 24-hour span, according to FlightAware.

Airlines say they’re struggling with staffing shortages, schedule meltdowns, traffic control issues and severe weather at many of their destinations. Companies have said they’re hiring hundreds of new workers each month.

>> Click here to check your flight with FlightAware’s flight tracker

Still, travel site Hopper says flight cancellations jumped 34% in the last month.

But despite the issues, passengers are packing planes. Last weekend, the TSA says it screened more people than any other weekend since the start of the pandemic.

We could be on track for the same this weekend.

>> Click here for the Charlotte airport’s real-time parking map

“Travelers are willing to pay more and they’re willing to face potential disruptions because they really want to go on these trips that they’ve put off, in many cases, for two years,” said Haley Berg, an economist with Hopper.

Airline CEOs are lobbying Congress for federal money to keep workers on the job, but opponents say the airline industry already received $25 billion in bailout money.

What if you become stranded?

Here’s what you’ll want to look out for to make sure you get to your final destination.

If you get stranded, ask the airline to put you in a hotel. They don’t have to, but it’s worth an ask.

If you want a full refund, the Department of Transportation says you’re entitled to one if the flight is canceled. It also applies if there’s a significant delay and you decide not to travel. However, what counts as a significant delay is open to interpretation.

If nothing else, kindness can go a long way.

A high school choir from Tennessee decided to break out into song for workers from American Airlines. They were stuck in Charlotte after their flight got canceled twice and delayed eight times.

Then, one of the gate agents coordinated a special flight for the group to get to New York City for a performance at Carnegie Hall on Saturday.

“If we don’t succeed at anything, we’ve brought those people joy. And our slogan is ‘bringing joy from Tennessee to NYC’ and I think we’ve definitely completed that,” said choir member Ally McNabb.

We’re not saying everyone should break out in song if they want a special flight -- but it did work for this group.

(WATCH BELOW: Storm, tech issues disrupt thousands of flights nationwide)