Flight delays, cancellations could be a taste of what's to come this summer

A nightmarish weekend for air travel might be a sign of things to come during the summer travel season, experts said.

As of 9 a.m. Monday, there were about 80 flights canceled or delayed into and out of Tampa International Airport, according to FlightAware, which tracks flight delays and cancellations around the world.

This came after there were more than 3,200 flights canceled and 9,000 delayed worldwide between Friday and Sunday.

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U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said he wants the nation's airlines to "stress test" their flight schedules to ensure the airlines can operate all their planned flights with existing staff. If they can't, he wants them to hire additional workers.

Buttigieg said the Transportation Department could potentially impose fines on airlines that fall short of consumer protection standards.

With that threat looming, however, there are concerns that some airlines may actually cut back on their summer flights to ensure the ones that are still operating arrive on time.

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Airlines blame the cancellations and delays on several issues, including severe weather and staff shortages due to COVID-19.

Buttigieg said he first wants to see how the airlines handle the busy summer travel season before decided how much the federal government should get involved.