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Dealing with Winter Flight Delays & Cancelations

If you’ve been following the news, you know that flight delays and cancellations have become an increasingly common part of travel, with staffing shortages and weather conditions among the contributing factors.

With the busy Thanksgiving and Christmas travel season coming up, the situation may not improve much. So what can you do as a consumer?

First, you can work with a travel advisor to plan your trip. If there is a disruption to your flight schedule, you have the peace of mind that comes with knowing there’s a human being you can call for help.

Your travel advisor is a skilled professional, with the experience to help you explore different options in booking your flights. Here are some things to consider:

Depending on where you live, you may be able to fly into and out of a less busy airport that’s less likely to experience delays. For example, there are several airports that serve Southern California in addition to Los Angeles International Airport. Flights that depart first thing in the morning are more likely to depart on time, so it may be worth it to get up early.

You may want to consider flying nonstop, even if it’s more expensive, rather than risk a delay that could cause you to miss a connection. If you do have a connecting flight, make sure that you leave yourself plenty of time, more than you would normally. An hour may not be enough. Remember that you might have to navigate a crowded, unfamiliar terminal, or even change terminals, for the second flight, and that takes time.

If you’re going to be joining a tour group or a cruise at your destination, think about arriving at your departure point a day early. You don’t want a missed connection or a delayed flight to cause you to miss out on your vacation. If you can swing it, build yourself a cushion. Your travel advisor can help you book a hotel and rental car and provide sightseeing suggestions for the extra day.

Of course, delays will happen even with all of the precautions, so be prepared. Make sure you have something to keep you occupied if you find yourself waiting at the gate longer than expected. That includes electronic devices and chargers — and your kids’ devices. Pack snacks that you can take through security to avoid paying high prices for food.

While it’s not always possible, especially if you’re traveling with young children, think about carrying your bags with you on the plane. This way, if there’s a delay or cancellation, you won’t have to wait for your luggage to be pulled or be without your bags if you miss your connection.

Finally, if there is a delay or cancellation, remain calm. Staffing shortages are affecting many industries, and the people who work at the airport are doing their best in a difficult situation.