Have a Backup Plan!

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June 25th 2022
Published: June 25th 2022
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Here are some facts:

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screened 2.45 million air passengers on Friday, the highest daily number since February 2020.

The number was however below the 2.73 million https://www.tsa.gov/coronavirus/passenger-throughput screened on the same day in 2019. The high traffic was despite weather and staffing issues resulting in travel disruptions. On Friday, U.S. airlines canceled 711 flights and delayed more than 6,000, according to FlightAware https://flightaware.com/live/cancelled/yesterday.

U.S. travelers are already facing a difficult summer as airlines expect record demand and as they rebuild staff levels after thousands of workers left the industry during the pandemic.

We have all had flights cancelled, delayed or both. My long-haul trips usually are cancelled or changed with advanced warning. Local trips are often changed or canceled when I am at the airport. In my business travel career, cancelled flights were common, particularly back east.

So here are some tips:

First, build an extra day onto your trip at the start and end, to prepare for delays, alternate flights or transportation.

Second, always know which airlines or airports are good alternatives. On my last trip to Vegas, Southworst canceled, so I found an Alegiant flight later that morning. I received a full refund and got a $100 voucher on top of that! In the Bay Area, two other airports are always an alternative!

Third, the train or car rental might be the next best alternative. In both cases, you may need to take an Uber to the Amtrak train station, or off site car rental service (cheaper and more readily available than airport locations). In some cases, a bus service like FlixBus, Megabus or Greyhound might be cheaper and faster. I once took a bus from the southern tip of Argentina back up to Chile, a 12.5 hour ride, since flights were offered infrequently, and the car and people ferries were on off season hiatus.

Change the trip altogether. I might take Amtrak in one direction, and fly back, or vice versa. Or catch a ride with a friend to a place like Vegas or San Diego, and fly back home. I have taken Amtrak to places like Chicago and New Orleans (for Super Bowl) and flown back when prices are lower and flights less crowded.

But I encourage you to always have a "Plan B" remain flexible and optimistic, and always remember, your seatmate might be a John Candy look alike!

Speaking of Plan B . . . .


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