Another airline service collapse is coming. It is not a question of “if” but rather of “when” it will happen. This can make past vacation flying problems seem like a small delay.
who talked? Say the experts. says the Federal Aviation Administration. He says everyone.
“There may be some pain in the future for summer travelers,” Mike Taylor, managing director at JD strength, warned. “Even with airlines taking precautions, basic industry infrastructure has not recovered from the pandemic. There is a shortage of pilots – and everyone wants to fly.”
Even the Federal Aviation Administration is sounding the alarm. This spring, when the agency Renewed waiver For the takeoff and landing slots at the busiest East Coast airport, I projected a 45% increase in delays at New York-area airports this summer compared to the same period last year. This looks to me like it broke down the entire summer.
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The American Travel Association expects this summer to be a “stress test” for the air travel regime. a A recent study Commissioned by the organization indicates we’ve already had a preview, 35% of Americans have reported a delay or cancellation in the last 12 months. It’s no wonder, then, that only about a third (32%) of new travelers are “very satisfied” with their air travel experience.
Even the airlines say things could go wrong. Many have scaled back their schedules, fearing they will not be able to operate all of their scheduled flights.
Andrew Steinberg, Travel Consultant Ovation NetworkHe said.
Oh, did I forget to mention the lack of air traffic controller? Yes, there is one of those too. there 10% fewer fully certified consoles than a decade ago.
But what are the prospects for a complete collapse of the system? What do air travelers do about it — and what should you do about it?
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How likely is another collapse of air travel this summer?
It is very likely. Although none of the experts I spoke with would give me the odds – they wouldn’t want to scare any clients off right now, would they? – They know that all the major ingredients are there for a breakdown.
Demand is growing, with searches for summer airfare up 25% compared to this time last year, according to Expedia.
“Airlines are still operating fewer flights than they did before the pandemic, which means flights will be more complete this summer,” Expedia spokeswoman Kristi Hudson told me.
Add to that staffing problems and other potential technical issues that led to air travel’s woes last year. Airlines continue to use outdated technology that is vulnerable to breakdown. The pilot deficit is about to get exponentially worse in the U.S. Right now, we have 8,000 short pilots globally, but it’s going to grow to nearly 30,000 pilots by 2032, according to Modern estimate. And there’s the problem with air traffic control that I already mentioned.
All you have to do is add a major thunderstorm or tornado to the mix, and boom! You’ll wish you could drive instead.
What airline passengers do before the summer travel season
You mean, besides panic?
I asked the customer service expert how he was planning to travel this summer. Chip Bell, a professional speaker and author, tells me he’s reluctantly booked a midsummer flight from Atlanta to New York for a cultural getaway—a week of theater, concerts, and museums.
Yes, the same New York where delays will increase by 45%.
“But I took precautions,” he added. “I will fly early in the morning and work with an experienced travel agent who is available 24/7 and can find alternative flights very quickly.”
And he has a Plan B in case the flights don’t depart: Amtrak. The train takes about 18 hours – which may be faster than flying.
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So what should you do about the summer travel crunch?
There are ways to avoid prolonged delays or disruption due to an airline downturn.
▶ Avoid airports and roads with a history of delays
Clear, right? But before you dismiss this advice, ask yourself: Did you know any Airports and roads are the most late? According to DOT data analyzed by Air advisorChicago Midway, New York’s JFK, and Denver had the highest percentage of jet lag last summer (all around 60 percent).). The most delayed routes were JFK to Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale to Newark, and Charleston to LaGuardia. The average delay is between 65 and 70 minutes.
“It is reasonable to rely on the summer 2022 data as a means of making some assumptions for summer 2023,” said Anton Radchenko, founder of Air Advisor.
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▶ Use a real travel agent
A qualified human travel advisor can help you avoid the worst consequences of a meltdown. And if you happen to end up at a terminal station, they can get you home quickly. “A travel advisor can change flights instantly,” Ashley Lees, luxury travel advisor with postcards from, He said. This ensures that if there are any problems, so are you never On the phone with an airline.” Travel agents also have inside knowledge that ensures you don’t waste time standing in a long line or sleeping in a terminal.
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▶ Get travel insurance
Most travelers don’t think of a travel insurance policy as a must-have for a quick local getaway. But the next airline crash may prompt people to rethink that conventional wisdom. “A suitable travel insurance policy can provide reimbursement for the costs of extra meals, transportation and lodging with significant delays,” said Daniel Durazzo, a spokesperson for Allianz Partners USAHe said.
I have some coping mechanisms for crashing too. They include booking the first flight of the day (thanks, Chip). I also study my airline’s refund policies and keep the link to DOT Aviation Rights Page My browser is bookmarked. I book a nonstop flight whenever possible, which reduces the chance of delays or disruption.
As a public service, I also post Names, numbers and email addresses of airline executives On the consumer advocacy website, Elliott.org. If something goes wrong, you may want to send them an email to let them know you’re not satisfied. They may be able to solve the problem quickly.
But as someone who has watched a lot of meteor showers, I can tell you that all the planning in the world won’t make a difference on a weekend during the summer when a wall of thunderstorms is moving toward the East Coast in slow motion. Bad things will happen.
Which brings me to the only foolproof way to avoid air travel disruption this summer. You probably already guessed it – don’t fly.
Christopher Elliott Author, consumer advocate, and journalist. establish Elliott call, a non-profit organization that helps solve consumer problems. Publish Elliot SRIAnd the travel newsletter and Elliott Report, a news website about customer service. If you need help with a consumer problem, you can Link to it here or email him at [email protected].
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