Busy travel weekend expected in Chicago as hundreds of pilots demand raises, better benefits

O'Hare International Airport is seeing few delays and cancelations to kick off the holiday weekend.

Chicago airports are expecting to welcome 1.6 million travelers this weekend, with Midway anticipating a nearly 50 percent increase in passengers alone.

While many are rushing to their gate, hundreds of pilots have taken to picket lines outside a dozen major airports, including Seattle-Tacoma International, Hartsfield-Jackson International and Chicago's O'Hare airport.

The good news is that travel was not disrupted.

The pilots were off-duty during the two-hour nationwide picket. 

The pilots say improving their work conditions is key to fixing the travel woes that passengers have experienced this year. 

New federal data shows that in the first half of the year, on-time arrival rates dropped for nearly every major airline, while customer complaints soared.

Pilots want raises as well as better benefits, retirement and schedules.


Hundreds of pilots hit the picket lines back in July.

Negotiations for a new contract initially began in 2019, but it was put on hold due to the pandemic.

Pilots say as we look ahead to another busy holiday travel weekend, it's time for lawmakers to show their support. 

Lufthansa pilots are also planning to stage a 24-hour strike beginning Friday.

The airline has already canceled 800 flights in preparation.