You can’t prevent flight delays, but you can plan to avoid them. Air travel has traditionally required scheduling flexibility before you may soar above the skies to visit friends and family. This summer felt like a game with no cheat codes.
The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) stated that 23% of flights were delayed in May, significantly over May 2021’s 14%. Four times as many flights were cancelled as a year ago.
If you’re travelling, the status update you dread most may not be a relative’s political outburst on Facebook, but your airline’s message that your flight is red.
More From Us:How to connect Android Phone to TV
What’s causing flight delays and cancellations?
“Flight delays” accounted for 7.81% of delayed flights in May 2022, followed by “Aircraft Arriving Late” at 6.93% (with most late arrivals due to “Air Carrier Delay”), and then “National Aviation System Delay” (issues with air traffic control caused by bad weather almost half the time) at 5.09%.
Airlines? They let employees go earlier in the pandemic expecting demand to return slower than it has, then faced high workforce competition and COVID absentees.
Tiffany Funk, executive director of the One Mile At A Time travel blog and co-founder of the Point, said airlines overscheduled and oversold flights this summer.
Me reward-travel search.
Even after airlines cut schedules and stopped serving some smaller destinations, neither is likely to improve (Opens in a new window).
“Air carrier delays and weather delays (which can be considered NAS delays) are likely to be the two biggest reasons for delay going forward,” said Brett Snyder, president and “chief airline dork” of the Cranky Flyer blog and the Cranky Concierge travel service.
Travel drops off in late August, and fall weather improves.
Early Flight Warning
Your airline’s app or website should be the most direct source about delays, but its flight-status display often triumphs over experience. Many airline status reports don’t contain the inbound plane’s ETA. Third-party resources can help.
FlightAware.com makes it easy: Enter your flight number, then click Track inbound plane to see when it arrives. FlightAware’s homepage shows who’s having a bad day. Flight Tracking > Cancellations shows airline delay and cancellation percentages.
FlightRadar24 has a cleaner interface. Tap Aircraft info, enter your flight number, then check the flight below yours.
The FAA’s National Airspace System Status page might warn of airport difficulties. This page shows US delays, ground stops, and closures.
Flight Cancelled? What to Do
If your flight is cancelled or delayed for hours, check the airline’s app or website for options. If seats are available on other flights to your destination in the same class, you could take them. Self-service rebooking could get you flying quickly.
What if you only have phone support and hold music? Google Pixel 3 and newer owners can utilise Hold For Me to have the Phone app ring when a human answers. It’s the best airline innovation since the lie-flat business-class seat.
Want to avoid long calls? Twitter direct messaging offers a near-instant connectivity to empowered agents for client relationship management. Always follow and DM.
Some airlines offer chat help on their website or other platforms. Determine if your airline demands one you don’t use. Aer Lingus exclusively chats over Facebook Messenger, so Facebook-haters should know that (Opens in a new window).
If you have access to the airline’s lounge (typically by a credit card or day pass), head there. American Airlines Admirals Club, United Club, and Delta Sky Club representatives are helpful.
Snyder recommends all-of-the-above. If you’re at the airport, line up. “Call bookings simultaneously. While on hold, tweet or check the airline app/website for self-service options.
Check if the credit card you used to book the trip has trip-delay coverage, as most premium cards do. Chase, American Express, Capital One, or your card of choice can repay those increased fees (Opens in a new window).
Remember you’re working with people. Travel is stressful, but it’s not the gate agent, flight attendant, or other frontline workers’ fault, Snyder said. Meanness is useless.