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Airlines navigate high travel demand, pilot shortages

Travelers also are feeling the impacts with higher prices to fly.

SEATAC, Wash. — Travelers and airlines are feeling the stress of the high demand for travel going into the summer.

Passengers say planes and airports are full as some airlines cut back on scheduled flights due to short staffing.

"We were delayed leaving and kind of delayed coming back with other flights getting delayed,” said Caitlyn Emge, who traveled from Palm Springs to Seattle. “So, I think it's just, people are back flying again.”

CNBC reports people spent $8.8 billion on domestic flights in March, as bookings rose 12%.

On Tuesday, Delta Airlines pilots are expected to picket at Sea-Tac Airport and demand improvements in scheduling following what the Air Line Pilots Association calls a rise in pilot fatigue. A spokesperson for Delta Airlines said the picket will not impact operations.

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In recent weeks, Alaska Airlines has been canceling flights and announced it's cutting some of its schedules because of the pilot shortage.

"It was a little stressful wondering if our flight was going to get canceled and we wouldn't know when," said traveler Whitney Emge.

Demand is also driving up prices.

"It was pretty pricey," said traveler Mele Vaiomounga, who was flying from Fresno to see her sister in Seattle. "It was about maybe $1,110, which is weird because I'm used to seeing it like at least $500."

Vaiomounga said the flight stopped in three cities but was the most affordable option.

"I really care more so about family time,” said Vaiomounga. “So, it meant a lot for my sister being here too, and it was on my bucket list.”

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