Holiday Travel: How to Avoid Flight Delays and Cancellations | Tech US News

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More people will travel during the holidays. Which means more planes and full runways and more delays and cancellations.

An average of 3% of flights were canceled in August 2022, according to data from the Official Airline Guide, a UK-based provider of global travel data. That’s an improvement from the more than 7% cut earlier in the year, but still 50% higher than 2019’s average of 1.9%.

There’s not much you can do to prevent a specific flight from being delayed. But there are a few steps you can take that will give you a chance to get home on time.

Want more travel tips? Here’s what you should pack on your next vacationthe best credit cards accumulate kilometers and what to do if your flight is cancelled.

1. Fly earlier in the day

Check out before 3pm to reduce the chance of cancellation, according to the OAG. Flights that depart later are 50% more likely on average to be cut.

Almost all airlines will work to get you on the next available flight, but if you’ve booked the last flight of the day, this may mean having to wait until the morning or later.

2. Fly during the low season

Flight delays were 40 minutes shorter during March and April 2022 than during the popular summer months, according to the Official Airline Guide. Fall 2022 has seen delays decrease again, but that may change as the holiday season heats up. Maybe skip the Christmas trip to Grandma’s and see her in February?

3. Book a non-stop flight

Yes, it tends to be more expensive, but cutting a connection (or two) dramatically reduces the chances of missing a flight.

4. Allow extra time for layovers

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has 195 gates, the most in the world.

Aimin Tang/Getty Images

You might think that an hour is plenty of time to make a connecting flight. But if the first leg of your journey is delayed, that time can be reduced to 30 minutes. And since most airlines close the plane’s doors about 15 minutes before departure, you can easily miss your connection.

These were the busiest malls during the Thanksgiving holiday in 2021, according to Statista.

  1. Hartsfield Jackson Airport (Atlanta)
  2. Dallas Fort Worth International
  3. Los Angeles International
  4. Denver International Airport
  5. Miami International Airport
  6. Chicago O’Hare International Airport
  7. Orlando International Airport
  8. Harry Reid International Airport (Las Vegas)
  9. John F. Kennedy International Airport (New York City)
  10. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

5. Download your airline’s app

American Airlines app

Airline apps can help you navigate airports and inform you about alternative flights.

Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Opt in to receive flight notifications and start manually checking your flight status regularly at least 24 hours in advance. As soon as you hear that your flight has been delayed or cut short, find out about transferring to another one.

Many airline apps will also provide up-to-date information about the gate your connecting flight is departing from and even how to get there.

6. Watch the weather at both airports

Start checking the weather in both places a few days before your flight. Some airlines will reschedule your flight before a major weather front at no additional cost. If a storm is on the way, you might consider leaving a few days earlier or later or finding a different route.

7. These airports have the highest volume of delays and cancellations

According to a FlightAware analysis for CNN, these US hubs had the higher percentage of flight delays between May 27 and September 5, 2022, the most recent information available.

  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%

And these 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%

Which airlines are the worst for cancellations and delays?

Of the top 10 domestic airlines, American Airlines had the worst record for cancellations, according to the July 2022 Bureau of Transportation Statistics report, the most recent data available.

The world’s largest airline, American canceled approximately 2.5% of its flights that month.

In terms of delays, Allegiant, JetBlue and Southwest Airlines had the worst on-time flight records. At the top of the list were Alaska Airlines, followed by Delta and Hawaiian Airlines.

That’s not a guarantee of what’s ahead, of course, and the risk of delay or cancellation exists with any operator.

Flights that arrive on time

Flights were delayed by at least 15 minutes

Canceled flights

Alaska Airlines

83%

17%

0.4%

loyal

61%

37%

1.5%

American Airlines

73%

24%

2.5%

Delta Air Lines

80%

18%

1.8%

Frontier Airlines

73%

26%

1.1%

Hawaiian Airlines

81%

19%

0.1%

JetBlue Airways

67%

30%

1.8%

Southwest Airlines

69%

29%

1.6%

Spirit Airlines

79%

21%

0.4%

United Airlines

78%

19%

2%


For more information on travel
to check the best luggage for holiday travel and learn the Google Maps and Google Flights features to use before and during your trip.

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