8 Tips for Navigating Travel Chaos and Flight Delays This Summer


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Traveling has probably never been more challenging than it is this summer. Unprecedented demand for air travel fueled by low staffing across the aviation industry has made flying a challenge for even the most seasoned traveler.

If you’re going to travel this summer, there are ways however to limit the amount of frustration and headaches you have to deal with. Here are 8 tips for navigating through travel chaos and flight delays this summer.

8 Ways to navigate through travel chaos and flight delays this summer.

Tip #1: Spend extra time researching.

Low prices and deals are hard to find on the surface, but if you dig deep, you’ll still find some deals.

-Use Google Flights to research cheap flight paths.

-Check your hotel across all hotel booking platforms to ensure you’re getting the lowest price.

-In some instances, you may even be better off booking with the hotel directly. Booking directly with the hotel will sometimes give you access to better deals and discounts.

-When booking with airlines, be sure to select reputable airlines that have a strong on-time departure percentage and a low cancellation rate.

Delta Logo Displayed On A Delta Aircraft

Here are 4 airlines that are your best bet for avoiding flight delays:

  • Delta: Only 19% of its flights were delayed in May and 21% faced a delay in June.
  • United Airlines: May and June saw just 23% of the airline’s total flights delayed.
  • Spirit Airlines: 80% on-time performance.            
  • Alaska Airlines: 81% on-time performance.

Here are 3 airlines that have had the most delays in recent months:

  • Allegiant: 39% of their flights have been delayed.
  • JetBlue: #2 airline with the most delays. 36% of JetBlue’s flights have been delayed.
  • Southwest Airlines: This airline has had 29 of its flights delayed.

If your trip allows you to select to travel with an airline that has a lower cancellation and delay rate than another airline, it is recommended that you book with that airline in order to minimize the chances of having your trip disrupted.

New York, USA - April 23, 2012: Airbus A320 JetBlue tailfin with Mosaic design on John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, NY on April 23, 2012. JetBlue aircraft features one of several tail designs. This mosaic pattern was created in 2005 and inspired the name for the TrueBlue Mosaic program - the frequent flyer program.

Tip #2: Get travel insurance (seriously).

No one thinks they need travel insurance until they are the ones with the canceled flight, lost luggage, or delayed flight. Travel insurance is oftentimes more than affordable and can completely alleviate unnecessary problems travel disruption can cause.

Be sure to get travel insurance that covers things like:

– Delayed flights.

– Cancelled itineraries.

– Lost or delayed baggage.

– Or even if you get sick right before the trip and can’t go.

Tip #3: Give yourself extra time.

-There are going to be lines, delays, waits, and lots of frustrating moments, so add extra hours or days

into your itinerary and plan for delays ahead of time.

– Get to the airport extra early.

– Try and fly in a day or two in advance, in case the flight is canceled last minute and you need to rebook.

Busy Unspecified Airport

Tip #4: Take the earliest flight the day that you fly.

If you are traveling by plane and are going to a destination that offers multiple daily flights, try and book the earliest flight of the day. In case you encounter any delay or cancellation, you’ll have a greater chance to get rebooked on another flight.

-According to data gathered by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the best time to fly is between 6 and 7 a.m.

-Delay times only get worse as the day goes on, though. For every hour later you depart, you can expect an extra minute of delays, FiveThirtyEight reports.

-Delay times hit a peak between 6 and 7 p.m. (reaching up to 20.7 minutes on average!), and they remain above 20 minutes through 9 p.m.

Tip #5: Pack carry-on only.

If you’re planning on going on a summer trip this year, try to avoid checking in any luggage. Airlines all over the world are struggling with delays and cancellations. The last thing you want when your flight is canceled is to wait hours to reclaim your luggage.

-Each airline has its carry-on luggage rule, some are a lot stricter than others, be sure to check with your airline and when booking with an airline, ensure that you are allowed to bring on a carry-on bag with you.

– A rolling carry-on luggage and backpack (personal item) will be your best chance to bring on the most amount of items onto the plane without having to check a bag in.

-Pay for priority boarding so you can ensure that you can fit your items into the overhead compartment.

-Boarding at the end or with a basic fair ticket often means your carry-on items will automatically be checked in due to the lack of space.

Traveler with only carry on luggage

Tip #6: If you have to check in a bag, be smart about it.

If you can’t pack a carry-on, get super smart about your checked luggage.

-Don’t wait until the last minute to check in your luggage. The earlier, the better.

-Keep all your valuables such as medicine, travel documents, electronics, and valuables with you.

-Get travel insurance that covers lost or delayed luggage.

-Many credit card companies will reimburse you for lost luggage. Contact your credit card company.

-Lock your luggage.

-Tag your bag and make it stand out so you can easily recognize it.

Tip #7: Check on the status of your flights

– Every day leading up to your flight, and then every hour on the day of your flight, keep checking the status. Anywhere from 10%-40% of flights in North America are being canceled or delayed so far this summer, so there is a good chance your itinerary may be impacted last minute.

– Download the airline app. They usually update these apps faster than they update the airline gate/counter

– Check the flight # on Flight Aware. This is another site where airline updates will commonly show before the gate agent is even aware.

Tip #8: Know your rights if your flight is canceled or your luggage is lost.

-Act fast: Open up a lost/delayed luggage claim as soon as you realize your luggage is missing.

-If you paid a fee to check your luggage, you are entitled to a refund in most cases.

-Check coverage and track expenses. Some airlines will reimburse you for any expenses incurred during the process of reclaiming your luggage.

-Have the luggage sent to your final destination and directly to your place of accommodation.

– Travelers in the U.S. need to be sure to know their rights, Airlines have to refund you your ticket in the event of a cancellation.

– Airlines also have to compensate you if your flight is overbooked.

Bottom line:

The travel industry is going to take another few months in order to rebound from the 2-year-long pandemic. Airlines and airports across the globe have to replenish their staff to meet travel demand. Ultimately things will go back to normal, it’s just a matter of time.

Until then, do the best you can do to minimize the chaos you’ll undoubtedly experience at airports.


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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.  Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories

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