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By The Way
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Summer travel is chaos. Here are 8 things to know.

The season is shaping up to be a messy one for airlines

(iStock/Washington Post Illustration)

After the summer travel season kicked off with thousands of flight cancellations over Memorial Day weekend, experts predicted it was only a preview of chaos to come. They appeared to be right.

More than 5,000 flights have been canceled since Thursday, a blow to travelers during the busy holiday weekend that included Father’s Day and Juneteenth. That follows the cancellation of more than 2,800 flights over the long Memorial Day weekend just a few weeks ago.

The cancellations came as travel continues to rebound from pandemic lows and carriers struggle with worker shortages.

“The ecosystem has become quite stretched as airlines try to met this robust passenger demand and try to get everyone where they want to go this summer,” said Adam Gordon, a managing director and partner at Boston Consulting Group. “The resiliency that we used to take for granted is no longer there.”

Each cancellation represented a travel day gone terribly wrong — and a potentially bad omen for future vacations.

“For that family of four, with a screaming kid and a diaper bag and a crabby spouse, that’s a horrible thing to go through,” said Mike Boyd, aviation analyst and president of Boyd Group International.

Here are seven key questions and answers for travelers heading into the season.