HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Travelers at Richmond International Airport (RIC) Friday morning were ready to fly away for the Fourth of July. But across the country, delays and cancellations have disrupted thousands of travelers' holiday plans.
"They canceled it," Martrise Wood, who is flying to New Orleans for a girls' trip, said.
She and Selena Johnson are now heading to New Orleans a day late with a layover instead of their original direct flight.
"We’re a little disappointed about missing that day," said Johnson. "We're still excited about going to the Essence Festival."
Travel agent Meredith Riley told CBS 6 she’s had to re-book 12 clients this week after their flights were canceled.
“Gas, a lot more people traveling, strikes, more chances of people calling out sick," Riley said about the flight cancellations. "It's all of these factors coming together."
Riley said she was doing her best to re-book her clients direct flights that leave first thing in the morning to avoid delays.
She also encouraged travelers who are attending a special event to try to leave a day early.
"We're going to Chicago to visit our daughter and our granddaughter and awaiting the birth of our second grandchild," Jack Horst said. "We were actually about an hour late for our first grandchild, so we made sure that we built a couple of extra days into this one, so we're there in time.”
RIC spokesperson Troy Bell said the airport was seeing travel levels at 90 percent of their post-pandemic volume.
If your flight gets canceled and you do have to re-book, he suggested doing to quickly and packing your patience and manners.
"One thing you'll note when you work with air carrier employees is being a nice person and civil, not taking it out on them can go a long way," said Bell. "They will be more motivated to try to help you find a solution faster."
As airports continue to deal with staffing shortages, some travelers have a message for those behind the counter, in the air, and on the tarmac.
“I know some of us probably get frustrated, and we're taking it out on you," noted Horst. "We shouldn't be, but thank you for being here. Because if you weren't here, we wouldn't be flying where we're going."
If you are flying this weekend, be sure to download the app for your air carrier and check the flight status up to 24 hours before takeoff.
Also, remember to arrive at least two hours before your domestic flight and three hours before international travel.