Increases in thunderstorms, travelers and ticket prices mark the beginning of the summer travel season, which is only a few weeks away. Airlines for America is predicting packed flights for the July to August stretch due to a record number of people traveling internationally and a brighter economic outlook. Add in unpredictable and sometimes dangerous summer storms, and you’ve got a recipe for stressful travel. While there’s not much we can do about the ticket prices, we have a few tips to help you have a better travel experience this summer.
Summer Travel Tip #1
Recent headlines, FAA chief: Flights at major hubs face 90-minute delays, USAToday 2/27/13, and Airlines Dispute Planned Air-Controller Cuts, WSJ 3/21/13, have trumpeted the inevitable air traffic delays which will result from layoffs due to budget cutting mandated by the infamous sequester exercise. Last week an FAA spokesman told the Wall Street Journal that air-traffic controller furloughs are unavoidable under mandatory federal budget cuts, and the FAA predicts flights could be delayed by up to 90 minutes at busy airports as a result.” Yikes! Does that mean travelers are relegated to a summer of missed connections and hours upon hours of heel-cooling in lengthy airport security lines and crowded gate areas?
At FlightView we make a business of tracking commercial airline flights around the world. We monitor delays at the top 179 airports in North America that service commercial flights; our homepage shows the major airports and the delays, if any, they are experiencing in real time. Visitors can check the status of any flight yesterday, today or tomorrow. We keep all the historical data, too, so we can look back at delays experienced by airports or specific flights. So we’ll have a pretty good handle on how delays evolve this summer. And if those threatened 90-minute delays happen (or even connection-breaking 30 minute delays), we will be the first to know.
Surprise surprise; The weather man was wrong! According to reports the night before, we were supposed to get nothing but rain and my flight to San Antonio would leave without any issues. The flight from BOS to DFW was set to leave at 11am and we’d have plenty of time to make our connection into SAT. When I woke up on the day of the flight, I found out that we had about eight inches of the fluffy type of “rain” and realized we probably wouldn’t be going anywhere. Having been through the weather-related flight cancellation experience a few years ago, I was dreading a day spent on hold listening to oldies, soft rock, or worst of all a continuous loop of the same new age tones. Just as I was bracing myself to make the dreaded call, my phone rang.
On the other end of the line was a very nice, very helpful, and very proactive computerized voice. I was informed that my flight was cancelled (This I already knew – I do work for company that brings you the FlightView Flight Tracker), I was informed that I had been rebooked on another flight for later that day and my connection had been rebooked as well.