Tips on how to avoid the air travel craze this summer

Mask mandates have been lifted, travel restrictions have fallen, and travelers, who have been waiting for their time over the past two years, are impatient to take their vacations after the pandemic in droves.

Unfortunately, the airline industry appears to be finding itself unprepared to handle such a volume of passengers, which has led to the airport chaos we’ve seen at airports around the world in recent months.

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The massive aviation sector experienced in the past few months has been blamed either due to extreme weather conditions, technical glitches, or continued understaffing at airlines and airports for various reasons.

Long waits, flying queues and airport traffic jams, along with flight delays and cancellations, are likely to increase as the summer travel season approaches in full swing.

For those of you who have been counting on finally getting away, after more than two years stuck at home, TimeOut recently put together some helpful suggestions to help you avoid as many air travel hassles and headaches as possible this summer.

Avoid certain airlines

In the US, all the major carriers were hit by the “perfect storm” of conditions creating back-ups at airports and constant flight disruptions, but JetBlue, Southwest and Alaska were the first to start experiencing problems this spring. But, a Fodor survey last month also showed that customers have been particularly dissatisfied with American Airlines lately.

Frustrated traveler at the airport
Photo: A frustrated traveler at the airport. (Image via fizkes/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Avoid some airports

Some airports today are more infamous than others for having ridiculously long queues to pass through security checkpoints, passport control and claim baggage, requiring departing passengers to arrive early in order to make their flights and arrivals patient with Job. The most recent airports that have proven particularly problematic have been Dublin Airport, Manchester Airport in England and Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, so stay away from those.

Travel to big cities

Many airlines are still offering reduced, pandemic-era service at smaller regional airports, which – still understaffed and facing operational challenges – are likely to be cut as flight schedules shrink. If your flight is cancelled, it can be difficult to find alternatives and be somewhat expensive. If possible, book your flights between major urban centers as the carriers are sure to maintain a regular schedule.

Arrive at the airport early, avoid baggage check

Spending extra time at the airport may not be your idea of ​​a good time, but getting there earlier than is usually recommended gives you the best chance of getting to your flight, even if the queues and waiting times are exceptionally long. And of course, if you can just carry on with your hand luggage and avoid checking your luggage, this will allow you to skip at least one queue.

Young woman at the airport checking flight departure
Young woman at the airport checking flight departure. (Image via Martin-dm/Getty Images/E+)

Get travel insurance

Thanks to COVID-19, travel insurance has shifted from being considered “extra” to essential flight insurance. The right insurance policy can incur any losses if your flight is cancelled, and guarantees you some compensation for significant flight delays, or if your baggage is lost or damaged.

Download flight apps

With the unpredictability of changes to flight schedules, departure boards at airports and even online flight information aren’t quite as reliable as updates available on airlines’ official apps. Through the app, carriers send notifications or text messages directly to your phone in real time regarding last minute gate changes, delays, etc.

choose to stay

An easy way to avoid the airport craziness is to leave it out of your vacation planning entirely and stick to somewhere a short drive away, or easy to reach by train. Stays aren’t as popular as they were at the height of the pandemic, so it’s possible that local hotels and resorts are still available in the summer.

Eurail, rail travel, rail travel
A traveler at a train station in Europe. (Image via Eurail)

entrain

The journey may be somewhat slower, but going by rail can be a very pleasant experience that allows you to sit back and enjoy the views, plus the extra legroom. Plus, the cheapest is probably a good deal.

Take your summer vacation a little later

If you’re not constrained by school vacation dates and don’t mind waiting until September, after the summer travel rush has faded somewhat, you’ll likely experience much less congestion and confusion at airports. If you’ve set your heart on a long-haul flight, plenty of European summer hotspots—like Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Malta—are perfect for late summer sun seekers.

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