2022 has been the summer of the "flightmare". Every weekend comes reports of hundreds (if not thousands) of canceled flights, lost luggage, and long delays.
It all had traveler Tamara Mims very nervous.
"My flight doesn't leave till 4, so I am having a little anxiety about it being delayed," she said, rushing to catch her fight.
On top of all the problems, ticket prices are up 25% over last summer, according to the government's most recent price data. So what can you do if you were hoping for an end-of-summer deal?
The first thing to do is to lessen your chances of getting stuck somewhere, or at home, with your vacation flight canceled.
Make sure you get there on time
To improve your chances of avoiding delays, Caroline Teel of SmarterTravel.com says:
- Avoid connecting flights, which double your chance of a problem.
- Don't check a bag if possible.
- Book a morning flight. And never the last flight of the day.
"Try to get the first flight of the day if you can," Teel said. "I know no one wants to wake up and get a 4 am taxi to the airport, but you are so much less likely to be delayed if you are on that first flight."
Where are the end-of-summer deals?
Normally by late July, airlines and hotels start lowering prices for late August travel. But there are fewer deals this year.
Soaring jet fuel prices, pilot and other staffing shortages, and higher-than-normal demand this year are all contributing to high prices, as well as a record number of delays and cancellations.
Unfortunately, those same factors are why it's also tough to find some end-of-summer deals this year, as there are so few empty seats that airlines need to fill.
Lousson Smith of Scott's Cheap Flightssaid, "it's not that there aren't any deals out there. It's just that when they do happen, they move really quickly."
Smith says Scott's Cheap Flights notifies members when great deals pop up.
He recommends you:
- Use an aggregator, like Google Flights or Kayak, to compare prices.
- Avoid Monday and Friday business travelers (who are now flying again), by flying Tuesday through Thursday and on Saturday.
- Get the best deals by waiting until after Labor Day to travel. Mid-September to mid-November, when kids are all in school, have some of the lowest fares of the year,
If you're hoping for one last family trip this summer, however, be sure to book the flight you want before it's gone. Airlines are not adding extra planes right now.
"The longer you wait, the more likely it is that you're not gonna find those deals," Lousson said.
Tamara Mims says high fares are not keeping her home....yet.
"People want to vacation, gotta pay the price," she said.
But with some pre-planning and a careful choice of travel dates, you'll be set up so that you don't waste your money.
Don't Waste Your Money" is a registered trademark of Scripps Media, Inc. ("Scripps").
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