Vacation Travel: Tactics to Avoid Flight Delays and Cancellations


The tourism industry breathed a collective sigh of relief this year, as 2022 saw the traveling public return to the skies for good. But one of the less happy side effects of this rebound has been the strain that strong travel demand has put on the aviation sector, which was ill-prepared to handle the relatively sudden influx of travellers.

The result was a year riddled with flight disruptions and overall unpredictability in airline operations, not to mention soaring fare prices. Cancellations, delays and long wait times at the airport have become commonplace.


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Conditions have improved compared to the start of the year, when 7% of all flights were canceled daily, a proportion that fell to 3% in August, according to Expedia’s 2023 report on air hacks. Although this percentage is moving in the right direction, it remains above the 1.9% average in 2019.

As consumers continue to plan trips that have been denied to them during the pandemic, everyone who buys a plane ticket these days does so in dread of the increased hassle they might face on the day of departure.

The busy summer travel period may be over, but flight frustrations are likely to intensify as the holiday travel season approaches, reported. According to Hopper’s recent “2022 Holiday Travel Outlook” report, more than half of Americans plan to travel for Thanksgiving, Christmas or both this year, with 70% intending to visit friends and family. Air travel during the upcoming holiday season is expected to be both busy and expensive.

While there’s no surefire way to avoid having your flight delayed or canceled while on vacation, CNET has compiled some easy-to-follow tips that should help you have the best chance of avoiding additional headaches. at the airport and arrive at your destination on time.

Luggage under the Christmas tree
Luggage under the Christmas tree. (photo via Goldenberg/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

1. Fly earlier in the day

According to the OAG flight data platform, choosing a departure time before 3:00 p.m. reduces the risk of cancellation. Flights departing after this time are on average 50% more likely to be removed from the schedule.

2. Opt for longer layovers

While an hour might have been plenty of time to get to your connecting flight, you’ll probably need a longer layover period these days. If the first leg of your trip is delayed or your plane has to wait a long time for passengers to disembark, this buffer time can quickly decrease. Not only will you have less time to walk through the airport to your door, but most planes seal their doors around 15 minutes before departure time and you could easily miss your connection.

3. Download your airline’s app

We know it’s one more thing on your phone, but go ahead and download your carrier’s mobile app and choose to receive real-time notifications to make sure you’re up to date with flight updates. and gate assignments. At least 24 hours before your departure time, periodically check the status of your flight and, if it is interrupted or delayed, you can seek to transfer to another flight. Airline apps can also help you navigate airports and send you updated gate assignments for your connecting flight during layovers.

4. Keep an eye on weather conditions

A few days before your flight, start monitoring the weather conditions of your place of arrival and departure to better anticipate if your flight could be canceled or delayed. Airlines will sometimes issue change fee waivers before an impending inhospitable weather event, so you can reschedule ahead of time. If you see that a storm is forecast, you may want to leave a few days earlier or later than originally planned, or look for a different route.

Traveler, passenger, anxious, stressed, frustrated, airport, train station
An anxious and stressed traveler waiting for her connection. (Photo via David-Prado/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

5. Note the airports with the highest volume of flight disruptions

According to a FlightAware analysis for CNN, the following US airports reported the highest percentage of flight delays between May 27 and September 5, 2022.

  1. Chicago Midway International Airport: 37.7%
  2. Baltimore/Washington International Airport: 32.5%
  3. Orlando International Airport: 32.2%
  4. John F. Kennedy International Airport: 31%
  5. Harry Reid International Airport (Las Vegas): 31%
  6. Newark Liberty International Airport: 30.4%
  7. Dallas Love Field Airport: 29.1%
  8. Dallas Fort Worth International Airport: 28.3%
  9. Denver International Airport: 27.5%
  10. Charlotte Douglas International Airport: 27.2%

Meanwhile, these US airports had the highest percentage of cancellations.

1. Newark Liberty International Airport (New Jersey): 6.7%
2. LaGuardia Airport (New York): 6.7%
3. Reagan National Airport (Washington, DC): 4.8%
4. Raleigh-Durham International Airport: 3.7%
5. Cleveland Hopkins International Airport: 3.5%
6. Pittsburgh International Airport: 3.4%
7. Boston Logan International Airport: 3%
8. John Glenn Columbus International Airport: 3%
9. Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport: 2.9%
10. Indianapolis International Airport: 2.9%

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