It’s been a difficult month of delays and cancellations for several airlines, especially JetBlue, leaving travelers frustrated at Logan International Airport.
JetBlue announces details of new Boston-London flights
JetBlue, Logan’s largest airline, has struggled with delays and cancellations in Logan all week and was responsible for 52 of the airport’s 101 delays and 13 of 19 cancellations at the airport late Friday morning, according to the flight-tracking website. FlightAware.
The airline apologized to customers earlier this week, noting that staffing shortages are a challenge, so the airline is adjusting schedules and reducing the number of its summer flights.
“Overall, travel has come back very quickly, and some airlines are better prepared for it than others,” said Kristin Chambers, founder and senior travel consultant at DA Luxury Travel and TRAVELLUSTRE in Boston.
Chambers and Mary Ann Born, owner of Born to Travel in Hingham, are experienced advisors with 20 years each in the business.
Are you afraid that your flight will be delayed or canceled? Travel experts have offered the following seven tips for booking airline tickets now.
Buy travel insurance
When asked if travelers should have travel insurance, Chambers replied, “One hundred percent.”
Born agreed, saying, “With Covid, it’s become even more critical.”
Travelers can often add insurance when buying their airline tickets, Chambers said. Or travelers can shop around, especially if they want insurance that covers accommodations and other aspects of a trip, they said.
“Just read the fine print,” Chambers said. ” See what it covers. Everything is different. Often, for example, your flight has to be delayed for a while for coverage to kick in.
Chambers works with four insurance companies and meets with them weekly to keep up to date on policy changes.
Buy refundable tickets
Both experts said it was worth it to buy a refundable ticket now.
“I’ve told my clients that whatever you can buy, you should buy as refundable as possible, even if it costs you a little more money right now,” Born said.
If your airline can’t book you in time to host that special occasion in another city, you can book with another airline and know you’ll be reimbursed for the flight that didn’t work out, Chambers said.
It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with other flights so you can switch to a Plan B right away, she said.
“You know what your options are,” she said. “Be proactive. When something is canceled, the masses come and rebook and within seconds everything is sold out. So know right away what your options are. Don’t wait until the flight is canceled.
Avoid the busiest travel days
Chambers said it’s best to avoid normally busy travel days.
“If you can, avoid high, high, high travel days if you have a few days of flexibility at each end,” Chambers said. “Maybe try not to travel this Saturday from April break. Maybe a few days before or a few days after.
If your airline waives change fees, take advantage and change your flight in advance to a less busy travel day, Born said.
“A lot of the tickets people have now are free rebooking tickets because of Covid,” Born said. “If they’re nervous, they can try to arrive a day early if they can.”
Book nonstop flights
Eliminate as many layovers as possible from your trip by booking nonstop flights, Chambers said. More thefts create more opportunities for accidents.
“If nonstop is extra, you pay the extra for nonstop,” Chambers said.
Avoid short layovers
If you must book a connecting flight, avoid short layovers, Born said.
“You should be afraid to book a flight that puts you in a tight spot,” Born said.
Make sure you have more than an hour after disembarking to get to your next flight, Chambers said.
Book an airline ticket through your cruise line
For cruise passengers, book your flight through your cruise line, Born said.
“Because if you book your flight through the cruise line and there is a disruption, the cruise line guarantees they will get you to the cruise on time,” she said.
The cruise line’s dedicated 24-hour emergency response team will arrange your transportation and cover the cost, she said. Cruise lines like Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Azamara all offer these services, she said.
When booking on your own, remember that airline changes can cause you to lose your ship, Born said.
So, for example, if your cruise leaves on Saturday, try to book your flight as early as possible the day before, Born said, so you have a cushion if your flight is delayed or canceled.
“Try not to get stuck in a corner,” she said.
Dealing with delays and cancellations is frustrating, but try to control your emotions, Chambers said.
“I think everyone in the travel industry right now – including us – has been through two brutal years,” she said. “I think people don’t have patience for people who are going to yell and scream.”
Airline employees are doing their best, she said.
“Be nice to airline employees,” she said. “It was brutal. It was really, really brutal. Kill them with kindness. Be patient. Be ready.
“Get out and be brave and travel,” is Born’s message to travelers. “But understand that Covid still exists and it’s possible for things to happen on her trip.”
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