Audio Sources - Full Text Articles

Why your dream summer vacation may be a travel nightmare

WASHINGTON (NewsNation) — A unique blend of factors are conspiring to cause potential turbulence for flyers this summer travel season.

Airlines, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and State Department have all indicated early signals to vacationers that they might need extra patience reaching their destinations.

A shortage of air traffic controllers has caused airlines to cut summer flight schedules and the TSA predicts there will be a record demand at screening stations.

For travelers planning an overseas trip, U.S. passport application backlogs are skyrocketing to their worst in years. According to the State Department, the average time it takes to process a passport is now 10 to 13 weeks — that’s up from six to nine weeks in February.

Some air travelers have already seen what should be small problems — like a technology failure — bring Southwest Airlines departures to a screeching halt on Tuesday.

Adding to the travel troubles, a pilot shortage continues to plague the industry. There is also no resolution yet on a proposal to allow pilots to work past the current mandated retirement age of 65.