Tips to Survive Summer Air Travel

Air travel is going to be nuts this summer! There are pilot shortages, plane shortages, crew shortages, etc. hitting the airline industry hard just as travel enters its busy season. Here are a few tips to help navigate what is gearing up to be a very not fun time in travel.

Allow Extra Time at the Airport

It’s going to be super busy this summer so give yourself plenty of time. Look, I get it. No one likes spending more time than they have to waiting in an airport but trust me. Making a mad dash to your gate only to arrive just as they’ve closed the doors to the jet bridge ain’t no picnic either.

Don’t Book the Last Flight of the Night

With all of the shortages, flights have been canceling like crazy. You don’t want to put yourself in a situation where if your flight cancels you’d have to spend the night on a cold, concrete floor using your backpack as a pillow and your jacket as a blanket. It’s not as comfortable as it sounds.

Book the First Flight of the Day

If you can stand getting up well before the butt crack of dawn, I recommend flying out on the first flight of the morning, which is almost guaranteed to be on time.

Avoid Tight Connections

Since the start of the pandemic, airlines have fallen in love with connection times that are significantly less than an hour. While I appreciate their confidence in my airport sprinting ability, Flo-Jo I am not. When booking flights, I look for a connection time of AT LEAST 2 hours to allow for any minor delays. And if I’m traveling back to the U.S. from an international destination, I like to give myself a minimum of 3 hours to get through passport control, customs, picking up and rechecking my bag, and navigating through security.

Prepare for the Worst

If you are checking your bags, be sure to have a carry-on that contains a change of clothes, a clean pair of underwear, pajamas, and any medications you might need just in case the airline decides to put you and your luggage on different flights.

Now, you could follow all of these steps and your flight experience could still end up being a disaster. If that’s the case, I’m sorry. There’s only so much I have control over. But if you take my advice, I promise that you will at least give yourself a chance for a more enjoyable vacation.