8 tips for navigating travel chaos and flight delays this summer

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Traveling has probably never been harder than this summer. Unprecedented demand for air travel, fueled by low staffing in the aviation industry, has made flying a challenge for even the most seasoned traveler.

If you’re going on a trip this summer, however, there are ways to limit the amount of frustration and headaches you’ll face. Here are 8 tips for navigating travel chaos and flight delays this summer.

8 ways to navigate travel chaos and flight delays this summer.

Tip #1: Spend more time researching.

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

-Use Google Flights to find cheap flight routes.

-Check your hotel on all hotel booking platforms to ensure you get the lowest price.

– In some cases, it may even be preferable to book directly with the hotel. 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 high percentage of on-time departures and low cancellation rates.

Delta logo displayed on a Delta aircraft

Here are 4 airlines that are your best bet to avoid flight delays:

  • Delta: only 19% of its flights were delayed in May and 21% were delayed in June.
  • United Airlines: In May and June, only 23% of the airline’s total flights were delayed.
  • Spirit Airlines: 80% punctuality.
  • Alaska Airlines: 81% punctuality.

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

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

If your trip allows you to choose to fly with an airline that has a lower cancellation and delay rate than another airline, it is recommended that you book with that airline to minimize the risk of disruption of your trip.

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

Tip #2: Get travel insurance (seriously).

No one thinks they need travel insurance until they have the canceled flight, lost luggage or delayed flight. Travel insurance is often more than affordable and can completely alleviate any unnecessary problems that travel disruptions can cause.

Make sure you get travel insurance that covers things like:

– Delayed flights.

– Canceled routes.

– Lost or delayed baggage.

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

Tip #3: Give yourself more time.

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

in your itinerary and plan for delays in advance.

– Arrive at the airport very early.

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

Busy airport not specified

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

If you are traveling by plane and are going to a destination that offers several daily flights, try to book the first flight of the day. In the event of a delay or cancellation, you will have a better chance of being re-booked on another flight.

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

-The lag times only get worse as the day progresses, however. For each subsequent departure time, you can expect an additional minute of delay, reports FiveThirtyEight.

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

Tip #5: Only bring hand luggage.

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

-Each airline has their hand luggage rule, some are much stricter than others, be sure to check with your airline and when booking with an airline, make sure you are allowed to take hand luggage with you.

– A wheeled carry-on and a backpack (personal item) will be your best chance of bringing the most items on the plane without having to check a bag.

– Pay for priority boarding to ensure you can fit your belongings in the overhead compartment.

-Boarding late or with a basic fair ticket often means that your hand luggage will be automatically checked in due to lack of space.

Traveler with only hand luggage

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

If you can’t bring carry-on luggage, be super smart with your checked bags.

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

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

-Get travel insurance that covers lost or delayed baggage.

– Many credit card companies will reimburse you for lost baggage. Contact your credit card company.

– Lock your luggage.

– Label your bag and make it stand out so you can recognize it easily.

Tip #7: Check the status of your flights

– Every day before your flight, then every hour on the day of your flight, keep checking the status. Between 10% and 40% of flights in North America have been canceled or delayed so far this summer, so there’s a good chance your itinerary will be affected at the last minute.

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

– Check the flight number on Flight Aware. This is another site where airline updates usually show up before the gate agent even knows about it.

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

– Act quickly: Open a lost/delayed baggage claim as soon as you realize your baggage is missing.

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

-Check coverage and track expenses. Some airlines will reimburse you for expenses incurred during the baggage claim process.

– Have the luggage forwarded to your final destination and directly to your place of accommodation.

– Travelers to the United States should be sure to know their rights, airlines should refund your ticket in the event of cancellation.

– Airlines must also compensate you if your flight is overbooked.

At the end of the line :

The travel industry will take a few more months to bounce back from the 2-year-old pandemic. Airlines and airports around the world are having to replenish their staff to meet travel demand. In the end, things will return to normal, it’s only a matter of time.

Until then, do your best to minimize the chaos you will no doubt encounter at airports.

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