Travel tips for a better airline experience this summer | Granite City News


Flight delays and cancellations are frustrating airline travelers this summer.

Two to three percent of flights in the United States are canceled every week, Ja’Vonne Harley, the Chicago-based travel expert and host of the podcast Traveling Culturati, told The Center Square.

“Demand is outweighing availability of flights because airlines have not been able to get all of the crew members back that they had before the pandemic,” Harley said. “Some airlines are canceling flights just so that they don’t have so many people stranded at airports,”

Once a flight is canceled, it is really tough to find an empty seat on another flight. So, what is a smart traveler to do these days?

For a scheduled event such as a wedding or a funeral, don’t take chances, Harley advised. To make sure to get there in time, go a day early.

Also, take a minute to download the airline app to the phone.

“Definitely get the app. It is the best way to be notified quickly of any changes and delays,” Harley said. “Sometimes even before the flight crew gets new information, it will be updated on the app.”

Try to get the first flight out of the day, she said. Book non-stop flights if possible.

“That’s the best route to go. Eliminating a connection is eliminating another flight that can be delayed or canceled,” she said.

Travelers who already have flights booked can still make changes to streamline their trips, Harley said. Airlines are working with people and waiving change fees to get customers better bookings.

One potentially life saving tip that too many travelers skip: buying travelers insurance.

“It’s still very important to get travelers insurance – especially for medical coverage,” Harley said.

Travelers insurance protects against trip delays, trip cancellation and trip interruption.

“It also provides a bit of freedom,” she said. “If the airlines are having delays and cancellations, a traveler does not have to be at the mercy of one airline. Travelers insurance can give a person the ability to buy a ticket on another airline.”

Consider paying for TSA PreCheck to make getting through security faster and easier, Harley said. A five-year membership to TSA PreCheck costs $85.

“No need to take off shoes or take items out of carry-ons,” she added.

Harley has both TSA PreCheck and Clear, a private membership program ($189 a year) that expedites the document screening process. There are special Clear lines where members can have their traveler IDs and boarding passes checked more quickly.

International travelers can avoid delays and lines when they return to the U.S. on a long overseas flight with Global Entry memberships ($100 for five years). Global Entry pre-approved travelers receive expedited clearance from U.S. Customs. Start the application process for both Global Entry and TSA PreCheck online at Trusted Traveler Program Enrollment.


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