(WHTM) — Summer vacation season is officially here and experts are expecting a record number of travelers, the biggest since the pandemic. If you are traveling by air, here are some things you can do to make your trip smoother.
“Last summer was pretty busy with lots of delays and cancellations,” Eric Napoli, vice president of legal strategy at AirHelp, a company that fights for passengers’ rights, said. “We expect this summer to be even busier.”
Last year, airlines were plagued with delays and cancellations. Napoli gave several suggestions to avoid this.
“If you can travel one of the first flights in the morning, usually the plane’s already there and the plane’s already ready. So the later you fly in the day the more likely it is that you’re going to have a delayed flight,” he said.
Napoli also warned to be careful of connecting flights, saying the more of those you have, the more chances you have to be hit with delays.
He also said that some days are better to travel than others.
“People travel the most on Fridays or on Mondays. They travel the least on Tuesdays. So generally Tuesday is your best day for travel in terms of flight delays,” he said.
When it comes to compensation for a cancellation or delay, Napoli said things can get tricky.
“Right now in the US the state of passenger rights is a little bit tricky. If you are denied boarding because of overbooking, then yes you are entitled to compensation and if that happens be careful not to accept the first thing that the airline offers you because it might not be everything you can get,” he said.
Napoli added that lost luggage can also be an issue, and advised not to put valuables in checked bags.
“If you do put things into your suitcase that you’re afraid to lose, maybe you can’t carry them on, take pictures of them, have receipts, because airlines will be a bit tricky about covering certain things and often won’t cover things that are very valuable like cameras, jewelry. You’re putting that into your suitcase at your own risk,” he said.
Staffing shortages were a big reason for travelling issues last year, and Napoli said this year airlines have an opportunity to improve their customer service.
“I think anytime we as consumers can put pressure on airlines to really give us the best service i think that does help,” he said.
The best thing to do to have a good travel experience is to be prepared and take care of the things you can control. When issues do arise, Napoli recommends being patient.
“Take it with stride. The people at the airport, they’re also having a tough time. Don’t scream and yell at anyone, it doesn’t help. Be patient and plan,” he said.
Currently, the White House is working on new regulations that would require airlines to compensate passengers and cover meals and hotel rooms when travelers are stranded for reasons within the airline’s control.