PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The kids haven’t even gone back to school yet, and we have to talk about your vacation travel plans already.
Now is the time to book if it is not already too late.
The photo is not pretty. We have all seen the problems airlines already have. Well, there are no signs that it will suddenly improve in November and December.
Want to fly over the river and through the woods to see Grandma for Thanksgiving?
“It’s actually a bit late to plan vacation periods at this time,” said Joe Weigler of Shadyside Travel.
“The longer you wait, the worse it will get because I don’t think you’re going to see an increase. Capacity is very minimal by the time the holidays come around,” Weigler added.
Marita Williams of AAA Travel agreed.
“If you’re just doing air, we’re fine now,” Williams said.
Because you don’t have to be close to the holidays for there to be a problem.
“When those flights start selling out, and they’re three-quarters, half full, fares are going to go up. They’re not going to come down,” Williams said.
And it’s harder to get to Pittsburgh’s more popular destinations, like Orlando.
“We had maybe seven or eight flights a day; we’re now maybe four or five flights a day,” Williams said.
How much confidence should you have even if you have a ticket?
“They have to get you there, but it might not be in the timeframe you want,” Williams said.
“I wouldn’t be about to say beware because despite the high number of cancellations, there are still a lot of flights that have flown and a lot of delays above schedule or minimal,” Weigler mentioned.
But airlines are scrambling, and Williams said don’t be surprised if between now and your vacation flight, the airline changes your schedule.
So, are there ways to have a better chance of getting what you want at this point?
Being flexible in your travel days and even hours will help, and be careful what you buy. Is it refundable, what protections do you have?
Pumpkin spice latte is coming and Halloween candy is on store shelves, so it’s a great time to talk about Thanksgiving and Christmas travel.
In fact, if you haven’t made your vacation travel plans yet, you’re facing a dwindling seat supply deadline.
First, know that there are probably more rears wanting to get where you’re going than cramped airplane seats to get you all there.
Vacation travel tip #1?
“If you plan to travel during the holiday period, do it tomorrow. Today, tomorrow, as soon as possible,” adds Weigler.
To avoid issues with canceled or delayed flights, Williams said he plans to get up before sunrise and catch that first flight of the day.
“Because chances are your flight won’t be delayed so much because it will already be there and ready. If you have a flight at 6 a.m., chances are it won’t come. Besides, it’s the start of the day for this plane,” Williams said.
But those flights fill up first, and Weigler said to have a better chance of getting a seat and for a potentially cheaper price, consider traveling midday or evening.
“If you can vary your times, you’ll have a better chance of getting what you want,” Weigler said.
Both Joe and Marita said you might consider traveling on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.
“Obviously you’ll find a lot less traffic for obvious reasons on those days. And you might get better uptime as well,” Williams added.
Plus, book your rental car now.
“They’re going to have to pay a lot more for car rentals than they ever have in the past,” Weigler said.
“That price is going to go up because they still have a shortage of cars,” Williams said.
And even if the hotels are a little more available, the prices will not be in the spirit of holidays.
“They’re trying to make up for lost revenue like everyone else. And their prices are generally higher now than they have been,” Weigler said.
And in the current climate, Williams said travel insurance is a smart investment.
“It’s not really that expensive when you consider what you’re offering for your vacation. You want to protect that investment.”
If you’re making your own reservation, read everything carefully and hiring a professional can help you find the best deals and give you someone to call if you have a problem.
With all the recent cancellations and delays, it seems to be very unsettling to even consider traveling with the family.
Williams said if your flight is canceled, go to the counter to rebook, but call the airline at the same time. You have a good chance of having an agent on the phone before you have your turn online.
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