HANOVER TWP., Pennsylvania – Travel experts say we’re coming off the biggest travel weekend since the pandemic began, with millions of Americans taking to the skies.
But while so many people travel, there are also a large number of travelers facing delays and cancellations.
Jennifer Doncsecz of VIP Vacations says travel agents have been juggling cancellations for months. But things are getting really complicated, as airlines change their routes to try and meet the growing demand for travel.
Two major airlines, American and Southwest, have both canceled flights due to understaffing.
Airline officials say rising travel demand caught them off guard.
To get a sense of what this all means locally, Lehigh Valley International Airport said in February that it receives an average of 26,000 travelers per month. In May, that number doubled, with even more people in June.
Meanwhile, officials said Philadelphia International Airport forecast about 350,000 travelers this weekend, with a July total of 2.4 million, but not quite at July 2019 levels.
Doncsecz says travelers should keep tabs on their flights until they leave for any changes.
“They cancel some routes and only a day or two before so the best thing you can do is call your travel agent or call the hotel where you are staying and try to change, but pack your patience “said Doncsecz.
Doncsecz says flexibility is key. She says it’s better to stagger your dates than cancel because you’ll end up paying more money when you book again.
She says the TSA is also understaffed and COVID rules are still in place, so travelers are advised to arrive at least two hours early due to long lines.
Fortunately, Doncsecz says she believes the cancellations and delays will only last during the summer travel season, as airlines catch up on staffing.