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8 Tips for Navigating Travel Chaos and Flight Delays This Summer

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The journey probably hasn’t been harder than this summer. The unprecedented demand for low-staffed air travel throughout the aviation industry has become a flight challenge for even the most experienced traveler.

If you 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 this summer’s travel excitement and flight delays.

8 Ways to navigate this summer’s travel excitement and flight delays.

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 on all hotel booking platforms to make sure you’re getting the lowest price.

-In some cases, you can even book directly at the hotel. Booking directly with the hotel will give you access to better deals and discounts.

-When booking with airlines, be sure to choose trusted airlines with strong on-time departure percentages and low cancellation rates.

Delta Logo Displayed On A Delta Aircraft

Here are the 4 airlines you can best choose to avoid flight delays:

  • Delta: Only 19% of its flights were delayed in May and 21% faced delays in June.
  • United Airlines: Only 23% of total airline flights were delayed in May and June.
  • Spirit Airlines: 80% on-time performance.
  • Alaska Airlines: 81% on-time performance.

Here are the 3 airlines with the most delays in recent months:

  • Allegiant: 39% of their flights were delayed.
  • JetBlue: #2 airline with the most delays. 36% of JetBlue flights are delayed.
  • Southwest Airlines: This airline had 29 of its flights delayed.

If your trip allows you to choose to travel on an airline with a lower cancellation and delay rate than another airline, it is recommended that you book with that airline to reduce the chance of your trip being delayed.

New York, USA - April 23, 2012: Airbus A320 JetBlue tailfin with Mosaic design at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, NY on April 23, 2012. The 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 have the flight canceled, luggage lost, or the flight delayed. Travel insurance is often more than affordable and can completely alleviate the unnecessary problems that travel disruption can cause.

Be sure to get travel insurance that covers things like:

– Delayed flights.

– Canceled itineraries.

– Baggage is lost or delayed.

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

Tip #3: Give yourself extra time.

-There will be lines, delays, waits, and many frustrating moments, so add additional hours or days

on your itinerary and plan delays in advance.

– Go to the airport earlier.

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

Busy Unspecified Airport

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

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

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

-The delay times get worse as the day goes by. For every hour later that you leave, you can expect extra minutes of delays, FiveThirtyEight reports.

-Delay times peak between 6 and 7 p.m. (up to 20.7 minutes on average!), And they stay above 20 minutes until 9 p.m.

Tip #5: Pack carry-on only.

If you are planning to travel in the summer this year, try to avoid checking in any luggage. Airlines around the world are having difficulty with delays and cancellations. The last thing you want when your flight is canceled is to wait a few hours to recover your luggage.

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

-A rolling carry-on luggage and backpack (personal item) is your best chance to carry most things on the plane without having to check in a bag.

-Pay for priority boarding to make sure you can put your items in the overhead compartment.

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

Traveler with only luggage

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

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

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

-Keep all your valuables like 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.

-You lock your luggage.

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

Tip #7: Check the status of your flights

-Every day leading up to your flight, and then every hour of the day of your flight, constantly check the status. Anywhere from 10% -40% of flights to North America have been canceled or delayed until this summer, so there’s a good chance your itinerary will be affected at the last minute.

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

– Check flight # with Flight Aware. This is another site where airline updates are usually seen before the gate agent even knows.

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

-Act quickly: Open a lost/delayed luggage claim once 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 costs. Some airlines will reimburse you for any costs incurred in the process of reclaiming your luggage.

-Send luggage to your final destination and directly to your accommodation.

-US travelers need to make sure they know their rights, Airlines need to refund you your ticket in case of cancellation.

-Airlines also have to pay you if your flight is overbooked.

Bottom line:

The travel industry will take another few months to recover from the 2-year pandemic. Airlines and airports around the world need to reposition their staff to meet travel demand. Eventually things will return to normal, just a moment.

Until then, do the best you can to reduce the excitement you will no doubt experience at airports.


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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions subject to change without notice. The travel decision is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authority to confirm the entry of your nationality and/or any changes in travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse travel against government notices

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