Holiday-travel chaos: Airlines brace for huge weekend crowds

The July Fourth holiday weekend is off to a booming start with airport crowds crushing the numbers seen in 2019, before the pandemic.

Travelers across the United States experienced hundreds of canceled flights and a few thousand delays on Friday, much as they did .

Patricia Carreno arrived with friends at Los Angeles International Airport only to learn that their Alaska Airlines flight to Mazatlan, Mexico, had been canceled.

“We’re probably going to drive down to Mexico — to Tijuana, the border — and just fly from there," she said.

The Transportation Security Administration screened more than 2.4 million travelers at airport checkpoints on Thursday, 17% more than on the same Friday before July Fourth in 2019. U.S. air travel is likely to set a pandemic-era record at least once over the weekend.

Traffic on the highway could be heavy too.

AAA predicts that nearly 48 million people will travel at least 50 miles or more from home over the weekend, slightly fewer than in 2019. AAA says car travel will set a record even hovering near $5.