OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Although it still feels like the heart of summer outside, AAA Oklahoma experts say now is the time to plan your holiday travels.
AAA Oklahoma is encouraging anyone who is planning to fly over Thanksgiving or Christmas to book their trips now to save money and limit headaches.
“Flyers are experiencing three pain points: increased expense, reduced inventory and the possibility of delayed or cancelled flights,” said Michelle Stinnett, AAA Oklahoma Travel Advisor. “Booking holiday travel now should help to address all of these issues.”
Officials say staffing issues have forced major airlines to reduce their number of flights, and airfares are climbing.
“By booking air travel now, flyers afford themselves greater choice and greater flexibility, increasing the opportunity for a positive, stress-free travel experience,” Stinnett added.
AAA offers 10 tips to ensure the best flying experience and minimize risk of disruptions:
- Look for flights that leave in the morning, allowing extra time throughout the day. Flights later in the day are more susceptible to an increase in cancellations, rescheduling or delays due to weather, short staffing or other unforeseen circumstances.
- Try to fly a day or two ahead of when you want to start your vacation or need to be at your destination so if your flight is delayed or disrupted, you don’t lose the whole trip.
- Schedule long layovers, with a two-hour minimum to allow plenty of time for unexpected delays so you can make your connecting flight.
- Buy travel insurance to protect your investment and choose a policy that provides coverage for travel interruption and additional expenses.
- Enroll in pre-screening programs for shorter, quicker lines, such as TSA Pre✓®, Clear or Global Entry.
- Check in online or via the airline mobile app at least 24 hours in advance, print a backup copy of your boarding pass if possible and take a copy of your e-ticket with you.
- Plan to arrive two hours before domestic flights at larger airports and up to three hours for international flights. Parking garages, TSA security checkpoints and other airport services may have long lines.
- Download the Flight Aware app to track the routing of your plane throughout the day leading up to yourleading up to your departure, which helps to determine if you will incur delays, miss your connection or need to take action early.
- Download and familiarize yourself with the app of the airline you’ll be flying. Most airlines allow you to check in for your flight, access boarding passes, track your bags, and change/cancel a flight. Plus, some airlines promote in-flight entertainment through their app.
- Review your airline’s commitment to consumer protections to understand your rights as a passenger, particularly regarding delays, cancellations and rebooking requirements.