Does it seem like there's a new round of calamitous flight disruptions every time you check the news?
It's not your imagination.
U.S. airlines are cancelling flights in numbers not seen since the late 1980s, according to an in-depth analysis by The Associated Press.
More than 75,000 domestic flights have been canceled just since Dec. 1, a staggering figure that represents 5.5% of the nation's entire 1.35-million flight schedule during that timeframe, according to information provided by flight tracking site FlightAware.
Those totals – both the raw flight numbers and the percentage of the overall schedule – represent the highest level of cancellations "since at least the winter of 1987-1988," AP writes. That was the winter that the Department of Transportation first began collecting and publishing airline cancellation data.
This winter's cancellation total received another huge spike just this week. Airlines have canceled more than 13,300 flights since Monday, a result of the latest winter storm to pummel key U.S. aviation hubs.
On Thursday alone, nearly half of the all of the flights in the United States were either delayed or canceled.
"Yesterday saw 6,533 flights cancelled and another 4,605 delayed, which amounts to nearly half of the daily schedule for passenger flights in the U.S.," Mark Duell, FlightAware's VP – Operations, says in a Friday e-mail to Today in the Sky. "It was the fifth worst day for flight cancellations we've seen in the last 3 years after the Groundhog Day Blizzard (of 2011), Hurricane Irene (2011), and Superstorm Sandy (2012)."