Labor Day weekend unofficially wrapped up summer season journey with comparatively few main flight disruptions, however it definitely didn’t erase a season stuffed with complications for vacationers.

Between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends this 12 months, the 5 largest U.S. airways canceled greater than 29,000 flights and noticed greater than 336,000 flights — over 1 / 4 of these scheduled — get delayed, based on knowledge from FlightAware.

These figures marked a 37% spike in cancellations and a 28% spike in delays amongst American Airways, Delta Air Traces, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airways and United Airways flights this summer season in comparison with the identical time span within the pre-pandemic summer season of 2019.

Join our every day publication

The issues usually stemmed from a mixture of staffing challenges, climate and air visitors management delays — points that won’t be mounted straight away.

There’s hope a lighter passenger load in the course of the fall months may see issues proceed in a optimistic route for airways. Nonetheless, amid warnings it might be 2023 earlier than issues really enhance, there are many classes to remove from an usually rocky summer season 2022 journey season and apply to your journey this fall and past.

For extra TPG information delivered every morning to your inbox, join our every day publication.

Reserving your journey

Lock in good airfare if you see it

There have been some optimistic indicators lately in terms of airfare traits, after months of pent-up demand and excessive gas prices stored costs excessive for a superb portion of 2022.

At the same time as there are extra offers available this fall, although, really good costs on flights are troublesome sufficient to seek out that if you see one, it’s value both placing a fare lock or maintain on it or buying it straight away. This goes for the vacations — Thanksgiving, Christmas and New 12 months’s — specifically.

Morning flights are your greatest wager


All through the summer season, TPG has reported — and far of our crew has skilled — how early morning flights are likely to result in extra nice flying experiences.

It’s the one time of the day airways are coping with a very clear slate, with the in a single day hours giving carriers not less than some alternative to do a little bit of a “reset” after an extended day of surprising twists.

As you concentrate on journey in future summer season seasons, remember that these pesky summer season thunderstorms occur much less usually within the morning, too.

Think about attending to your vacation spot a day early

Many airways are flying thinner schedules proper now in hopes of getting to cancel fewer flights because of staffing shortages, and to be extra resilient within the face of staffing challenges when dangerous climate strikes.

With maybe a better danger of your flight getting canceled in 2022 in comparison with earlier years, although, you would possibly need to take into consideration your itinerary, notably when flying to a can’t-miss occasion that received’t anticipate you, resembling a marriage, a sporting occasion or live performance or a household vacation dinner.

Padding your journey schedule to reach a day early might be crucial to making sure a hiccup in your itinerary doesn’t derail your complete journey.

This might imply leaving for Thanksgiving on Tuesday or flying into city for a Saturday marriage ceremony on Friday as an alternative of the morning of the occasion. (We are saying this with the caveat that there’s a good likelihood you possibly can lower your expenses by flying on a vacation itself, so it isn’t at all times a straightforward resolution to make.)

Getting ready for journey

Summer season vacationers wait in line at a TSA checkpoint at Tampa Worldwide Airport (TPA) on July 12, 2022. SEAN CUDAHY/THE POINTS GUY

Think about different flights

You’d hate to spend cash reserving a backup flight, however it’s a somewhat drastic step some vacationers discovered themselves taking on the peak of this summer season’s points. For those who’re not capable of arrive a day early to an occasion you merely can’t miss, it might be one thing to contemplate.

If that’s not a step you’re fascinated with taking, it’s best to not less than perform a little analysis, say, the day earlier than your journey, to see what different flights there are that may get you to your ultimate vacation spot.

I’ve discovered that when issues begin to unravel due to delays or cancellations, it’s useful if I already know of different nonstop flights — on my airline and different carriers — off the highest of my head. If there’s no approach so that you can escape a connection in your journey, take into consideration different connecting cities you’ll be able to suggest to airline customer support that can nonetheless get you to your vacation spot.

As an example, in case you’re flying from Omaha, Nebraska, to Dayton, Ohio, on American Airways by means of O’Hare Worldwide Airport (ORD) however there’s an enormous snowstorm in Chicago — and the airline retains providing you with different flights by means of Chicago that are also in peril of getting canceled — you would possibly say to the consultant, “What about flights by means of Charlotte or Dallas/Fort Price?”

They could not at all times allow you to change connecting cities, however I’ve had luck avoiding a climate mess with this tactic earlier than.

It might even work pre-emptively if there’s a journey alert in place affecting your itinerary.

An American Airways aircraft sits on the gate at John F. Kennedy Worldwide Airport (JFK), July 2022. SEAN CUDAHY/THE POINTS GUY

Brush up on U.S. Division of Transportation insurance policies

Be sure you know your rights as you journey as outlined by U.S. Division of Transportation insurance policies – a serious focus of the division of late, together with with the rollout of a brand new web site that lays out passenger rights.

This consists of realizing that you just’re entitled to a refund in case your journey is canceled or considerably delayed and also you finally select to not fly.

It additionally means realizing what the airline ought to reimburse you for resort stays, meals and floor transportation when there’s a serious disruption that’s within the airline’s management.

Additionally, bookmark the TPG factors and miles valuations web page so you are able to do the maths to determine what to decide on if the airline presents you a alternative of money or miles in your hassle.

Monitor airport, TSA web sites and social media earlier than heading to the airport

Control the social media feed for the airport you’re visiting. This is usually a good strategy to clue your self in on potential challenges you possibly can face alongside your journey.

Whether or not it’s an early warning that parking could also be restricted and it’s best to reserve a spot upfront or some type of operational problem on the airport, oftentimes these messages will find yourself on the airport’s Twitter or Fb feed.

This goes for main airports each within the U.S. and internationally.

We’ve additionally mentioned how the TSA app might help you get an early sense of the kind of wait you would possibly encounter on the safety checkpoint.

Making a ultimate descent in Florida as a thunderstorm approaches. SEAN CUDAHY/THE POINTS GUY

Watch the climate within the Northeast and Florida

For those who’re flying a route that begins, ends or is completely alongside the East Coast, the climate circumstances within the Northeast and in Florida are crucial.

As a result of so many airways have hubs within the New York Metropolis space and the Sunshine State, a fast thunderstorm or different climate downside can have a cascading impression on flight operations up and down the East Coast for hours (and in some circumstances this summer season, days) on finish.

This might imply you’ll run into weather-related delays or cancellations in Charlotte — even in case you haven’t seen a drop of rain all day — as a consequence of a climate system in New York.

Control the circumstances not simply round your property airport, however in these two crucial East Coast areas. This can provide you an early sense of what sort of journey day it is perhaps.

Throughout your travels

Assume lengthy and exhausting about checking a bag, and think about AirTags

From mountains of baggage in Europe to misplaced baggage throughout disruptions domestically, the rocky summer season for air journey included nightmare eventualities for a lot of vacationers when it got here to baggage.


Notably when there are cascading delays and cancellations affecting many flights, the baggage scenario can begin to be a large number at airports and may result in your bag getting left behind. This may be very true when your itinerary modifications.

One of the best ways to make sure your bag is with you if you land is to pack the whole lot in a carry-on bag. This does imply you’ll have to ensure the contents of your bag are compliant with TSA 3-1-1 guidelines, that your bag measurement is compliant with airline carry-on insurance policies and that your ticket permits for a full-sized carry-on.

We’ve additionally seen simply how vital AirTags may be for finding your bag when it goes lacking. On the identical time, some vacationers have discovered the exhausting approach that having the ability to find your bag and getting it again may be two very various things, together with one passenger who flew again to Europe a second time to retrieve his household’s baggage.

Nonetheless, it helps to know the place alongside your journey your bag went lacking.

Know your approach round your airline’s app

On approach too many events this summer season, my airline’s app got here in helpful as I bumped into cancellations and delays. I hardly ever known as customer support, although, and I by no means stood in a kind of insanely lengthy traces to speak with a customer support consultant on the airport.

By utilizing the airline’s app, you’ll be able to usually rebook your self on a brand new flight in a matter of seconds. You might even be capable to make a number of modifications if the very first thing you discover isn’t very best (however do guide the very first thing you discover that not less than works at a naked minimal degree, as a result of even which will rapidly disappear).

When there are mass flight disruptions, it might be difficult to discover a new flight that’s handy, however the app can prevent plenty of time ready on maintain or in line.

It’s also possible to use the airline’s app to identify early indicators of hassle, like when your incoming flight’s aircraft is working right into a delay that’s prone to have an effect on your flight downstream.

A busy day at a gate inside New York’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA) Terminal B, amid flight cancellations and delays in June 2022. SEAN CUDAHY/THE POINTS GUY

Have a backup lounge or a backup plan

The overcrowding points at lounges that started to manifest earlier than the pandemic definitely didn’t disappear in 2022, and in reality, may be notably troublesome on days when mass flight disruptions depart many vacationers stranded in airports.

For that purpose, you possibly can face a wait to get right into a lounge throughout your journey which, relying on the size of your layover or departure time, might make it not possible to attend or typically not value ready.

This will imply having to courageous the airport concourse with most different vacationers for a pre-flight meal or drink.

Understand that some bank cards might provide you with different choices for lounge entry. As an example, cardholders of The Platinum Card® from American Specific can entry Centurion Lounges, Precedence Move Lounges and – in the event that they’re flying Delta – Delta Sky Lounges.

Like many facets of journey in 2022, having a backup plan goes a good distance.

Backside line

If there is a silver lining from this summer season’s many flight disruptions, it is that vacationers now know to be geared up with loads of methods if issues go awry with future journeys.

With the likelihood it might be 2023 earlier than issues really get again to “regular,” know {that a} little bit of advance planning may go a good distance towards making your future air journey experiences as pain-free as attainable.

Learn extra:

Supply hyperlink